A working group for the deregulation panel is proposing to ease visa requirements for foreigners who will be going to Japan to study washoku or traditional Japanese cuisine. Washoku is set to be added to UNESCO‘s Intangible Cultural Heritage list by December as recommended by the committee that screens cultural asset candidates.
Being added to this list will help washoku become more popular in the international cuisine world and is expected to bring in an influx of chefs who would like to study it in Japanese restaurants and other establishments. The group will be meeting on Thursday and should eventually submit a proposal to the Justice Ministry that will grant resident visa status to cooks that will be training in washoku. The current system already gives resident status to foreign cooks who are cooking other kinds of cuisine, like French, Italian, etc, in Japan but not for the traditional Japanese cooking.
This will also be part of the “Cool Japan” strategy of the industry ministry, which seeks to bring unique aspects of Japanese culture to other countries to spur domestic economic growth. This includes anime, manga, J-pop, video games, and now washoku. The working group says that the chefs who study in Japan will be able to promote the cuisine when they go back to their respective countries and can help boost the industry and eventually the country. Culinary experts are also looking forward to the UNESCO listing as it will serve as an impetus to preserve the traditional way of cooking and will get even the Japanese excited once again over washoku.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]