Welcome to Gochisō History! This website is dedicated to the exploration and study of Japanese food culture and history. Choose an article to start reading. For readers not familiar with Japanese history and culture, we recommend first reading the quick historical primer.

Song Analysis: Nihon no Kome wa, Sekai Ichi!

Song Analysis: Nihon no Kome wa, Sekai Ichi!

Japanese Food History ​ Song Analysis: Nihon no Kome wa, Sekai Ichi! ​Uchikubi Gokumon Dōkōkai (打首獄門同好会, literally: “Beheading Prison Gate Association”) is a Japanese “loud rock” trio formed in 2004 and composed of Osawa Atsushi (guitar, lead vocals), Kawamoto Asuka...

Katsuo: the Skipjack Tuna

Katsuo: the Skipjack Tuna

Japanese Food History ​ Katsuo: the Skipjack Tuna ​Present on plates (and in pots) since prehistoric times, the skipjack tuna, called katsuo, has an unmistakable taste with which all Japanese people are familiar. Valued since ancient times, it has continuously evolved...

Baumkuchen: Japanese Adaptation of a German Classic

Baumkuchen: Japanese Adaptation of a German Classic

Japanese Food History ​ Baumkuchen: Japanese Adaptation of a German Classic ​A flagship and precursor of the yōgashi (洋菓子, Western confectionery) trend, the baumkuchen (バウムクーヘン, baumukūhen) is a beloved pastry present in Japan for more than a century now. Simple yet...

Chanko Nabe: the Sumō Diet

Chanko Nabe: the Sumō Diet

Japanese Food History ​ Chanko Nabe: the Sumō Diet ​Often called Japan’s national sport, sumō wrestling is an enthralling world with its particular idiosyncrasies, beliefs and traditions. Enormous wrestlers colliding and grappling on an earthen ring is certainly a...

Izakaya: the Japanese Tavern

Izakaya: the Japanese Tavern

Japanese Food History ​ Izakaya: the Japanese Tavern ​This is the first part of a two-part series about the Japanese izakaya. In this article, their history and customs are being discussed. The second part is an interview with the owner of Kinjo, an izakaya in the...

Ochazuke: Tea and Rice

Ochazuke: Tea and Rice

Japanese Food History ​ Ochazuke: Tea and Rice ​The humble ochazuke (お茶漬け, “tea soak”) is a staple of Japanese food, eaten in one form or another probably since rice cultivation was introduced in Japan. Conjuring images of a mother’s cooking for a busy student...

Satsuma Imo: the Sweet Potato

Satsuma Imo: the Sweet Potato

Japanese Food History ​ Satsuma Imo: the Sweet Potato ​A beloved winter food, the sweet potato has been present in Japan for hundreds of years. Not as renowned as its more famous staple counterparts like rice and noodles, it has nevertheless been a quiet background...

Sukiyaki: the Meiji Dish

Sukiyaki: the Meiji Dish

Japanese Food History ​ Sukiyaki: the Meiji Restoration Dish ​ Packed full of flavors, easy to cook and delicious to eat, sukiyaki (すき焼き) is a staple of Japanese food, enjoyed both at home and outside with friends. Prepared with ingredients available anywhere and...

Fondue and Raclette: Interview with Japan’s Cheese Chefs

Fondue and Raclette: Interview with Japan’s Cheese Chefs

Fondue and Raclette: Interview with Japan's Cheese Chefs This is the second part of a two-part series about cheese in Japan. In this interview, we discuss working and managing restaurants offering cheese specialties like raclette and fondue with two Japanese chefs. In...

Cheese: Dairy in Japan

Cheese: Dairy in Japan

Japanese Food History ​ Cheese: Dairy in Japan ​This article is the first part of a 2-part series about cheese in Japan. Here, we explore the history and modern consumption of dairy in the country. The second part is an interview at a cheese specialty restaurant in...

An Izakaya Owner: Interview with Sanae from “Kinjo”

An Izakaya Owner: Interview with Sanae from “Kinjo”

A Japanese Izakaya: Interview with Sanae from “Kinjo” This is the second part of a two-part series about the Japanese izakaya. In this interview, we get a look behind the counter of an old town izakaya. The first part traces the origins and customs of this mainstay of...