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Washoku culture included on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List

  • Journal of Japanese Culture
  • 2020, (84), pp.5-21
  • DOI : 10.21481/jbunka..84.202002.5
  • Publisher : The Japanese Culture Association Of Korea (Jcak)
  • Research Area : Humanities > Japanese Language and Literature
  • Received : December 30, 2019
  • Accepted : January 30, 2020
  • Published : February 29, 2020

Hyeon wook Kim 1

1국민대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In this paper, we examine the process of registering Washoku as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage. The application preparation process has been recorded in published proceedings and press releases. In Japan, traditional performing arts such as Noh and Kabuki were registered with UNESCO as intangible cultural heritage in 2008. To date, the number of traditional Japanese arts so registered totals 21, including entertainment, festivals, and traditional techniques, but not Washoku. In 2010, for the first time in the world, food culture was registered as a UNESCO cultural heritage, including the gastronomic meals of the French, traditional Mexican cuisine, and the Mediterranean diet. Following France and Mexico, Korea applied to list its “imperial cuisine” as an intangible cultural heritage, and there has been an effort in Japan to register food culture as well. At first, the NPO Japanese Culinary Academy began the process of registering Japanese food culture as a cultural heritage on its own. However, the academy later sought the government’s assistance, which cooperation they did indeed receive. Experts familiar with Japanese food culture gathered and held four meetings to finalize the application. Attendees of this meeting reported that Washoku is not a dish but a complete traditional Japanese food culture. They also described one of the characteristics of Washoku as “respect for nature.” Interestingly, the main reason why the name used by the Japanese to apply to UNESCO changed from kaiseki cuisine to Washoku is the failure of Korea to register its imperial cuisine.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.