The Japanese food wars started when asahi (pronounced “e-ah-zha”) was discovered to be a valuable food in the 1920s. Asahi’s popularity soared after the rise in the price of rice, but when the price of food dropped in the late 1980s, it was no longer as cheap. Asahi is now considered a luxury item, and it is no longer a staple in most Japanese homes.
To add insult to injury, the Japanese government is now attempting to prohibit the importation of Asahi-made products over national security reasons. This is a new development, and I’m glad we live in a country where we can express our opinions about how something can be done better. At least we can ask the government to back up their claims if they’re wrong.
As a Japanese, I hate getting products from foreign countries, but I love the feeling of being able to go out and buy the cheapest version of a product because I know that someone somewhere will pay more for it. But Japan, they are being hypocritical.
Asahi is a food chain that produces a wide variety of foods. In order to get our food, we don’t have to follow the official Asahi rules. We can go to the chain and buy the cheapest version of whatever it is we want. We can go to any of the other food chains (and have the same experiences) and simply purchase the cheapest version of whatever it is we want. It’s a little sad to see this happen, but I guess it is what it is.
Now Japan is the third country to ban the sale of certain foods from their stores, but only because they thought they were too dangerous. The other two countries are Thailand, where asahi has closed their doors, and China, where asahi has not made any changes to their food chains in the last 5 years. The reason they are banning the sale of certain foods is because they figured it was too dangerous for their citizens to be eating.
It’s not just the food they don’t like, but anything that has a flavor that makes it too spicy, salty, or fatty. It was all very well and good to get rid of the hot sake in Shochu, but it isn’t much better to have your sushi drowned in seawater. I’m sure there are hundreds of other countries with the same problem, and I’m sure that this was just an isolated incident.
Some people might say that “this is just the Japanese version of the food wars in Vietnam”, but if the Japanese version had any food safety issues, it would have been reported to the Japanese government and they would have worked to correct them. Instead, the government is simply trying to make it hard for them to import food that they like.
For the record, the Japanese government has been working on improving food safety for years (not to mention, they are the world leader in the production of meat and pork products). But this is just the beginning. Imagine the same thing happening in France.
A large part of the reason why Japanese people eat so much beef and pork is because it has been deemed, in the past, to be the only acceptable food. But, as the Japanese government is working to make it harder for people to eat meat, they are now going after all the other things that people like to eat. They are now creating some of the most stringent regulations for Japanese food that we have ever seen.
Asahi has a big problem with pork products because they are expensive. And it is also considered to be a “traditional” food, which they don’t really like. But they are doing their best to screw with us. They are saying that Japanese restaurants should only serve pork products that have been “authentic” and “traditional” and that any food that is “made from genetically modified pig ingredients” will be bad for the public.