Documentary Reviving Recipes
Situated in the north-east of the Japanese archipelago, Yamagata Prefecture is one of the top rice growers of the country. According to a recent Yamagata University study, over 150 unique native food plants across the prefecture have been recognized. Such heirloom plants can be considered an important form of intellectual property, as they can convey senses such as taste, smell, and touch from generations decades and centuries ago. Yet due to an ageing population of food producers lacking successors, native varieties of food plants are endangered. Through this film, we hope to alert the world to the situation of Japanese heritage crops which farmers have nurtured throughout time.
At this time, a movement has arisen to support food producers who protect and carry on heritage plants.
Associate Professor Egashira Hiromasa of Yamagata University researches locally native crops. He conducts scientific studies on traditional slash-and-burn agricultural methods and analyzes constituent taste elements of heirloom vegetables.
Okuda Masayuki, owner and chef of the local restaurant Al Chécciano, is known as a pioneer in using native Japanese foods in Italian cuisine. Consumers and food producers alike have been inspired by his inventive recipes featuring the unique bitterness or tang of traditional vegetables.
Heirloom crops are beginning to be acknowledged as treasures of the community, and producers are slowly increasing. With the triad meeting of food producer, academic, and cook, progress is being made into new recipes and research fields. Heritage crops are also “Living Cultural Assets” that can be used in the education of local history and folk culture. Grown in school gardens, heirloom plants can offer important lessons in agriculture and food culture.
The community culture that nurtured, selected, and handed down seeds, local and native, teach us about boundless love. This kind of commitment is cardinal for a future sustainable agriculture. With the efforts of farmers who protect and bestow the seed, and supporters who demand quality food, the future of what the Japanese eat is about to make a mighty turn.
Note on Okuda Masayuki
The Director: Watanabe Satoshi
“Reviving Recipes” Production Committee
JAPAN / 2011 / Japanese / Color / HD / 95 min
Director, Editing: Watanabe Satoshi
Photography: Hotta Yasuhiro
Sound: Sato Koichi, Takahashi Shinsuke
Sound Mixing: Ishidera Kenichi
Music: Suzuki Haruyuki
Production Company, World Sales: Movie “Reviving Recipes” Poduction Committee
Address 2-5-15, Honcho, Tsuruokashi, Yamagata , 997-0034 JAPAN