Japan is a country trapped by the ocean on all four sides. Two-third of its land is predominantly covered with mountains, making it too hard to civilize. Most of the population lives in cities on flat areas. The sparse, arable land is used mainly for cultivating rice. It has become a hobby to grow rice, from the 1800’s. Japanese also feast on seafood daily, as it is abundantly found here. This food arises from the influence of many other countries and religion. Later, these have been altered and now it is called as Japanese food.
The various influences on Japan were abundant and definitely shaped and created Japanese food.
Origin of Rice
First of all, the staple crop, rice was introduced from Korea, by a migrating tribe, Yayoi.
The Chinese influence
The Japanese food is known for its variety of sauces and how it amazes the taste buds. Soy sauce and soybean curd were passed on through china. In addition, the magnificent skills and perfection with the use of chopsticks were also taught by the Chinese.
Impact due to Buddhism
The religion, Buddhism, really caused a major alteration in the Japanese’s diet as meat was banned. As a result, sushi was invented with fish and rice. It has become a world-wide favourite dish. Due to the ban of meat, the Japanese have also experimented and introduced many simpler cooking styles with meatless food.
Japanese food has become quite westernized after such food like deep fried, breaded tempura. The deep frying styles, tobacco, corn, sugar and potatoes were introduced by the Dutch and Portuguese.
More of Buddhism
Later on, Tokugawa, Japan’s shogun, feared war with the Europeans and thus, closed the Japanese’s ports. This prevented any foreigner’s entry and completely isolated the Japanese. This was the time when Buddhism and Shinto have majorly impacted the Japanese cuisines. The five flavours included in the cuisine, respectively, spicy, salty, bitter, sweet and sour came to existence due to these two religions.
After many years, beef has made a comeback into Japan. During the Meji Period, everyone publically feasted on meat, to embrace the western culture.
The food that we now call as Japanese was primarily influenced by many nation and religions. Now, Japanese food is supposed to be the healthiest of all cuisine and it supposedly increases longevity rate. It is mainly composed of seafood and rice. Thus, it contains less cholesterol as well as less fat. On busy mornings, people turn towards packaged food items like instant ramen and instant miso soup.