Many facets of the culture of Japan have changed drastically over the years, one of them being the cuisine in Japan. Modern Japanese cuisine contains influences from both the traditional culture of Japan and other civilizations from around the world. Some of the staple foods found in Japanese cooking are noodles, rice, vegetables and fish. At Japanese dinner tables, these foods can be found at most every meal. Many different foods from other cultures have made their way into Japanese menus over the years too; however, most of them have taken on a Japanese flair and have become dishes all of their own.
While rice is a staple in Japan and can be found in many different varieties, at one time the only type of rice that was grown there was the short grain variety. Long grain rice was introduced to Japanese people from the Chinese culture. Once referred to as meshi or gohan, rice has been a preferred item at the meal table since this time. Another widely used item in Japanese cooking is noodles, which are often used as a replacement for rice or sometimes as an addition to the meal. They are most often not eaten alone, rather in combination with other foods, namely fish or vegetables.
Centuries ago, meat was actually outlawed in Japanese society. Around the year of 752 A.D., one of Japan’s Empresses, Empress Koken, set out a decree that even banned fishing. While this decree may have seemed harsh at the time, there were others that seemed even more outlandish. During 927 A.D., a regulation was set forth that any member of the Japanese government that participated in the act of eating meat would be deemed as unclean for three days time. This meant that they could not participate in Imperial Court’s Shinto celebrations. In today’s Japanese culture, eating meat is prohibited, except in some religious situations. Japanese sushi is a popular option.
While foods that are eaten have changed over the years, many of the modern day Japanese dishes still contain influences that have long been found in Japan. Rice and noodles are still a large part of the Japanese meal. Foods from other cultures have found their way into Japanese society; normally taking on a Japanese flair. This could mean the addition of what is considered a traditional Japanese food eaten with the cross cultural items or changes made to recipes will give it a Japanese style.