Our Wish for Restoring Japanese Tradition and Culture

The Japanese economy has achieved a high level of growth after mid-20th century. It is believed that the high level of growth is based on Japanese traditions and culture, such as diligence, accuracy, and conscience.

I was born to a small greengrocer in the countryside. In those days, greengrocers sold a variety of goods besides vegetables. Just like other greengrocers, we sold not only vegetables but also other things. When I was an elementary school student, I helped out the family business after school every day.This was nothing special for families in the countryside at that time.

One day, I was told to clean up “Shikimi” when I came back from school. “Shikimi” is a plant placed on the graves and Buddhist altars. My task was to wipe off dirt from the leaves and remove the dead leaves. My grandmother and I spent half a day cleaning up thousands of leaves. However, it was a pain for me to do so because I was still a young child.

I got bored as time went by. My grandmother, who was always kind to me, saw my bad behavior and asked me in a stern voice, “Why do you behave so badly in front of your ancestor?”

She continued her words. “You would not have been born without your father, your mother, and your ancestor. Our customer places the Shikimi for their ancestor to express the gratitude. You want our customer to place a muddy Shikimi for their ancestors?Don’t you feel sorry for them?”

This was a very common sight at ordinary Japanese home.

I believe this as “Japanese good nature”. However, the good nature seems to be fading away today. Some people believe that they could do anything they want as long as they do not violate the laws. Some believe that people with money have the power. Some believe that entering into elite university is their ultimate goal. Some farmers produce the vegetables using tons of pesticides for the markets,but they make organic vegetables for themselves.

Our food service industry has the same problem. Companies keep increasing their sales with television commercials. However, the job of making their products is mostly outsourced. Managers in those companies would not eat their own products, but dare to make and sell such products.

Many sushi restaurants are similar to this. They dare to outsource the vinegar for sushi rice, which is the most important part of making sushi. They use chemical seasonings, artificial colorings, artificial sweeteners, or artificial preservatives. They would not care or feel nothing even if the customers feed themselves with chemicals as long as the restaurant does not violate the laws.

They believe it is good enough because the Ministry of Health and Welfare decided the standards. Can you give such doubtful and suspicious products to your loving children in everyday’s life?It is said that the mites are the reason for the growing number of atopy patients. Is that really true?Shouldn’t we suspect the food product also?

We give great efforts to the point that most customers do not notice often. We think that is the true Japanese virtue. For us, it is time to reconstruct the wonderful Japanese tradition through sushi, a representative of the food culture in Japan, and proudly announce our tradition to the whole world.

Kura Sushi, Inc. President and Representative Director Kunihiko Tanaka

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