Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, notably for the celebration of New Year
Inscribed in 2013 (8.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese, notably for the celebration of New Year
Washoku is a social practice based on a set of skills, knowledge, practice and traditions related to the production, processing, preparation and consumption of food. It is associated with an essential spirit of respect for nature that is closely related to the sustainable use of natural resources. The basic knowledge and the social and cultural characteristics associated with Washoku are typically seen during New Year celebrations. The Japanese make various preparations to welcome the deities of the incoming year, pounding rice cakes and preparing special meals and beautifully decorated dishes using fresh ingredients, each of which has a symbolic meaning. These dishes are served on special tableware and shared by family members or collectively among communities. The practice favours the consumption of various natural, locally sourced ingredients such as rice, fish, vegetables and edible wild plants. The basic knowledge and skills related to Washoku, such as the proper seasoning of home cooking, are passed down in the home at shared mealtimes. Grassroots groups, schoolteachers and cooking instructors also play a role in transmitting the knowledge and skills by means of formal and non-formal education or through practice.
Decision 8.COM 8.17
The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:
- R.1: Transmitted from generation to generation, Washoku plays an important role in strengthening social cohesion among the Japanese people while providing them a sense of identity and belonging;
- R.2: Inscription of Washoku could raise awareness of the significance of the intangible cultural heritage in general, while encouraging dialogue and respect for human creativity and for the environment, and promoting healthy eating;
- R.3: Safeguarding measures to protect and promote Washoku in different regions of Japan, including research, recording and awareness raising through education and cultural exchanges, will be implemented by civil society associations and the Government;
- R.4: Communities, individuals, research institutions and local authorities participated in the nomination process in large numbers and the communities provided free, prior and informed consent;
- R.5: Washoku, traditional dietary cultures of the Japanese was identified as intangible cultural heritage with the participation of communities, groups and individuals and included in 2012 in the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Japan.
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