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Wednesday, 14th March 2012
In General Japan News,

Japanese 'washoku' hopes for world heritage status

Traditional Japanese cuisine is now eaten all around the world and it is impossible to visit a major city without seeing a sushi restaurant, but now Japan is hoping its traditional 'washoku' cuisine will be recognised by the United Nations for its cultural heritage.

Tokyo has applied to have 'Washoku: Tradiotnal Dietary Cultures of the Japanese' placed on the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage Assets, the Mainichi Daily reported.

The cuisine is defined by its fresh and seasonal ingredients that respects nature and has come to represent Japanese food culture over the centuries.

UNESCO will not announce whether the move to add washoku to its list has been successful until November next year at the earliest.

Celebrated Japanese chef Yoshihiro Murata is one of those to get behind the application to add washoku to the world heritage list.

He said: "Sometimes culture blends in so naturally with our lives that we don't appreciate its value," the news provider quoted.

"As a chef, I started out with Japanese food. If washoku becomes UNESCO heritage, it will motivate Japanese chefs across the globe - and also enhance the quality of chefs in this country."

Mr Murata, whose Kyoto restaurant was recently awarded three Michelin Stars, added that if the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation recognises washoku, it will motivate more people to invest in the traditional cuisine.

"Chefs from high-ranked restaurants across the world are enthusiastic about learning how to cook Japanese food," he added.

The move to nominate washoku was first motioned by the Japanese Culinary Academy - which is chaired by Mr Murata - before the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries took over the campaign.

According to the ministry, the cuisine is one of the reasons behind the low levels of obesity and high life expectancy in Japan.

Last year, Japan submitted an application to have Mount Fuji and the ancient city of Kamakura named a UNESCO World Heritage Site by 2013.

Written by Kimberley Homer