23 Feb ART-723- Inspirations -Satoyama culture the Culinary Art
Yoshihiro Narisawa, the owner-chef of restaurant NARISAWA in Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo, is one of Japan’s world-class chefs and an artist dedicated to crafting a variety of innovative food creations.
For more than 20 years, Narisawa has been focused on the culture found in rural foothill villages of Japan, called satoyama culture, where people coexist closely with nature. He explores the rich food culture and the ancestral wisdom passed down there, and expresses it through his uniquely creative cooking style—establishing a new genre he calls “innovative satoyama cuisine.” His work demonstrates his philosophy of “beneficial and sustainable gastronomy,” environmentally-conscious gourmet dining that shows respect for nature while nourishing body and mind.
Narisawa shows his commitment to preserving satoyama culture through his activities in Japan and around the world, and by sharing his message, as he continues to search for the ideal future of food culture.
The people of traditional Japanese villages depended on the forest’s natural resources, and as their wisdom deepened, they developed a lifestyle that encouraged the planting and maintenance of trees to sustain and improve the health of the forest. The philosophy of coexisting with nature, with humans living as part of nature, is embodied precisely in the Japanese concept of Jinen. The environments in which humans come into contact with nature are what we call “satoyama,” and the lifestyle customs and wisdom born out of necessity are “satoyama culture.”
“People living there have a knowledge, a wisdom about everyday life, that is very deep. The local culture in these bountiful Japanese satoyama villages shows respect for nature, and the food they make is so nourishing for both the body and the soul. I wanted Japanese people to understand this culture, and I’ve come to realize I can also share it with the world,” he says. Satoyama culture can be expressed through food beyond the confines of prescribed culinary genres. Natural ingredients should be prepared using techniques that maximize the potential of the wonderful and diverse offerings of every season.
Narisawa’s mission is to continuously engage in independent discovery, honing the techniques he has evolved, and applying the NARISAWA filter to invent like nothing seen before. And it is in this way that the marvel of “innovative satoyama cuisine” was born.
The fruit of the artistic collaboration of the chef with the excellent photographer Sergio Coimbra is this limited-edition album