Milan Expo 2015 - Pavilion of Japan

Questions for Mr. Kato Tatsuya, Commissioner General of the pavilion


1. Could you tell us about the theme "Harmonious Diversity" and how it reflects Japan's policies towards food sustainability and food safety?

By fusing various elements (expressed by the word "wa" in Japanese), the Japanese people have built a world of rich culinary culture. Japan has diversified agriculture, forestry and fisheries that are in harmony with nature. The meals conceived and prepared in Japan are well balanced and use traditional fermentation and brewage techniques. Rice constitutes the dominant portion of a standard diet. Tableware and the culinary environment in Japan make use of advanced craftsmanship therefore supporting a number of traditional arts and trades. For this reason, Japan has chosen the theme of "Harmonious Diversity" for its pavilion at Expo Milan. The Pavilion will introduce a broad range of activities in agriculture, forestry, fisheries and food and present the knowledge and art that are part of the Japanese food and culture.

2. How will the theme be translated in the design of the pavilion and visitor experience?

The content of the Exhibition, the displays and the performances have been created with the objective in mind of providing visitors with a vivid experience during their tour of the Japan Pavilion and as a source of inspiration for them. We hope that visitors will understand the underlying messages related to the potential solutions to global issues and discover the ideas for the creation of a sustainable and harmonious society in the future.

3. What projects developed by Japan in the fields of sustainable food production and recycling will visitors discover in the pavilion?

Japanese agriculture, forestry and fisheries are respectful of nature. We are convinced that this has created a sustainable food production. Given Japan's environment - its rainy climate and limited flat areas - the rice produced by paddy cultivation with less replant failure has been the staple food of Japanese people. We will develop the theme from the perspective of resource conservation, research and development of new technology. The theme will also be addressed it from the point of view of recycling, as expressed by the Japanese word "mottainai" (a warning against being wasteful). The idea of using of all parts of agricultural, forestry and fishery products as food and not wasting anything permeates Japanese food culture. This is reflected not only in cooking methods and recipes but also in the preservation techniques for fermented and dried food.
We hope that the individual awareness and behaviour apparent in the Japanese words "itadakimasu" (expression of gratitude before starting a meal), "osusowake" (a sense of sharing) and "mottainai" will pave the way for solving issues such as food waste and disposal of food.

4. The message of the project is that the Japanese values of gratitude, sharing, and zero waste will change the world. What image of Japan do you hope to leave in the minds of visitors?

Japanese food has become increasingly popular around the world. In Europe, where there is a strong culinary tradition, the same trend can be observed. Last December, "washoku", or Japanese food, was listed as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage. However, it is not well known that respect for nature is ingrained in Japanese food culture which also relates closely to social conventions. In this regard, we can cite as an example the use of a variety of fresh ingredients and natural flavours, the focus on a nutritional balance, the depiction of the seasons and their relationship with annual events. We hope that visitors will discover the deep roots of Japanese food culture and be encouraged to learn more by visiting Japan.

5. Do you see the Expo of Milan as an opportunity to develop new cooperation programs and promote this vision?

We hope that Expo Milan 2015 will be a great platform for exchanges with visitors on Japanese food and culture and that this exchange will contribute to the development of industries and new businesses across Japan as well as NGO activities.
We look forward to seeing many visitors at the Japan Pavilion.

Watch the video to learn more...