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Japanese Contributions to Canada
Transcript of Japanese Contributions to Canada
How Japanese Cuisine was introduced to Canada
Canada saw its first generation of Japanese immigrants in the early 1900s. The immigrants brought their culture, traditions and foods with them. At that time, many Canadians held fiercely racist views on Japanese people. The Canadian government reflected these racist views in their policies and treatment of Japanese immigrants. Japanese immigration was extremely restricted and Japanese people were not allowed to vote.The 1907 anti-Oriental riots in Vancouver decimated Japanese homes and businesses. In the 1930s and 40s the second world war incited a new wave of racism that resulted in Japanese internment camps. Until the 1960s, when the Immigration Act was repealed, racial prejudice caused Japanese people to settle in small, tight-knit communities. Japanese exclusion created areas similar to Vancouver’s ‘Japantown’, which became cultural hotspots. Though racial prejudice continued for decades, Japanese Canadians preserved many aspects of their culture, which included Japanese cuisine. Because Japan is an island arc, a lot of traditional Japanese dishes feature seafood.The wealth of fish and other sea food on Canada’s coasts provided Japanese Canadian chefs with the right ingredients. Eventually Japanese food became a delicacy in Canada, finally becoming a common sight in many Canadian towns. Today, Japanese foods such as sushi and teppanyaki are a staple food for many people and are available in many stores and restaurants. Japanese cuisine has had a significant impact on what Canadians eat and has formed many aspects of Canadian culture.
Japanese cuisine in Canada can range from a fine dining experience to a styrofoam takeaway box from the mall. As the Japanese dish sushi began its rise to popularity in the late 20th century, it was at first considered only as a delicacy. Today sushi is accessible to everyone, but high-class Japanese restaurants exist in many of Canada’s metropolitan cities. In Toronto, a restaurant called Kaiseki Yu-Zen Hashimoto offers an authentic, 6 or 8 course Kaiseki experience. Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese dinner that features several small, carefully balanced portions of food that are served with ceremony and structure. To prepare Kaiseki the chef must train for years and use only the freshest ingredients. In Vancouver, a new restaurant called Minami has gained attention for its wide range of Japanese and Japanese-inspired dishes that include sushi, sashimi and soba noodles. This restaurant provides an example of westernized Japanese cuisine that has elite status. More and more Canadian cities feature Japanese cuisine as a part of their fine dining scene. Japanese cuisine takes many unique and artful forms, which never cease to engage western consumers.
Over the years, Japanese food has slowly started becoming a part of Canada’s casual dining scene. The popularity of Japanese food caused Canadian chefs and businesspeople to make it more accessible to the general public. As Japanese cuisine became a part of Canadian food culture, the recipes became more westernized. This generally meant that the dishes became more fatty and large in portion. As non-traditional ingredients made their way into Japanese foods, the more popular they became. However, there is still a high demand for ‘authentic’ Japanese food. Today Japanese cuisine can be found in Canada’s grocery stores, strip malls and city centres. Many Canadians adore Japanese food and some consume it regularly. The fact that Japanese foods are sold alongside western foods shows how Canada has adopted aspects of Japanese cuisine as its own. Many Canadian establishments also draw inspiration from Japan. It is not unusual to see a matcha latte in a Canadian coffee shop, a drink that is inspired by Japan’s traditional matcha tea ceremony. Recently, Vancouver has held an annual Night Market festival that offers a wide variety of foods from Japan and different parts of Asia. Though Japanese cuisine has been altered in many different ways, it is still one of the most popular types of food in Canada.
The introduction and popularization of Japanese Cuisine in Canada and the western world has resulted in some interesting cultural effects. The foods of both cultures have intermingled and created new dishes and ways of preparing food. While Canada enjoys Japanese cuisine, the people of Japan are starting to choose more westernized foods as well. Western establishments like McDonald's, which serves burgers and fries, are becoming popular in Japan. However, the Japanese McDonald's restaurants have their own take on the menu items. Only in Japan will McDonald’s serve wasabi or umeboshi (plum) dipping sauce. Japanese people call this new type of western-inspired Japanese food Yooshoku.Similarly, many aspects of Japanese cuisine in Canada have been westernized. A popular sushi roll called the ‘Philadelphia roll’ is made of cream cheese and smoked salmon.The roll’s name and composition are derived from the Philadelphia brand cream cheese, and traditional Japanese sushi does not include dairy products or cooked fish. Other examples of this cultural fusion are Canadian chefs who combine Japanese cuisine with different cuisines from around the world. Chef Taka Sakurai from Montreal owns a restaurant called Toroli, which combines Japanese and French culinary tradition. The synthesis of Japanese and western ingredients has created new branches of cuisine in Canada and Japan.
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Some of the First Japanese Immigrants to Canada
Japanese Canadians being relocated during the Japanese Internment in BC
American company Starbucks features a Japan-inspired matcha latte
An Asian Night Market food festival in Canada
Sushi is available in grocery stores across Canada
McDonald's restaurants in Japan show the influence of Western culture on popular Japanese cuisine
In Canada and North America, Japanese foods, such as sushi have been altered to suit western tastes