Japanese ambassador in Cairo opens travelling sushi exhibition

Reham El-Adawi , Saturday 11 May 2024

The exhibition offers an in-depth visual guide to the appeal of sushi, an opportunity to learn about its history and how sushi is eaten in Japan in its original form, which UNESCO listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013.



The Japan Foundation in Cairo, opened its traveling exhibition Sushi: A Cultural Heritage (I Love Sushi) at the Gezira Arts Centre in Zamalek on Wednesday.

The opening was attended by Japanese Ambassador to Egypt Oka Hiroshi, Director of the Japan Foundation, Cairo Ayumi Hashimoto, Head of the Artistic Centres at the Fine Arts Sector Ali Said, and Director of the Gezira Arts Centre Amir Elleithy.

In his inaugural speech, Ambassador Oka Hiroshi expressed his pride in the spread of the number of Japanese food restaurants overseas that tops 100,000 and that in Egypt the sushi restaurants and street sushi vendors are increasing.  

After the opening speeches, a tour of the exhibition was conducted during which the guests were introduced through an in-depth visual guide to the appeal of sushi, as well as an opportunity to learn about how sushi is eaten in Japan in its original form, and how Japan has adapted sushi to suit the natural environment, culture, and lifestyles of each region. It introduces the audience to today's vibrant sushi culture and encourages us to think about sushi's potential to be the food of the future in light of contemporary food issues, especially since sushi is a typical example of Japanese cuisine - the “Washoku” - which UNESCO listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2013.

"There is no one who has not heard of sushi, even if they have never tasted it. Sushi has a long and deep history, starting more than a thousand years ago when it moved from Southeast Asia to Japan. Since then, sushi has changed radically, capitalizing on the abundance of natural resources found in and around the islands of Japan, the application of the latest knowledge and ideas, and the endless craving of the Japanese to try good food, it is a typical example of Japanese cuisine," explained Hashimoto. 

The exhibit includes a simulation of visiting a sushi shop in Japan. People who don't know much about sushi will enjoy the exhibition immensely; in addition, sushi lovers will find it fascinating as well. The exhibit also tells something about Japan's history and customs.

After Egypt, the exhibition will travel to Poland.

On the sidelines of the exhibition, a lecture entitled “History and Variety of Sushi” was given by sushi researcher Mitsutoshi Hibino, professor at Aichi Shukutoku University, and honourary director of the Shimizu Sushi Museum.

Two workshops will be organized on 16 May and 6 June on how to make sushi that will comprise around 20 participants

The Japan Foundation is Japan's only institution dedicated to carrying out comprehensive international cultural exchange programmes throughout the world.

The Japan Foundation in Cairo, which was founded in 1995, is the only branch in the Middle East and Africa. It organizes events promoting cultural exchanges between Japan and the MENA region such as music, fine arts, applied arts, literature, cinema, and many more.

In addition, it promotes Japanese language education in Egypt and the MENA region by organizing Japanese language courses in Cairo and Alexandria, seminars, lectures and workshops, online symposia, the Japanese language proficiency test, and so on.

The Japan Foundation in Cairo possesses an open library containing around 6,000 Japanese-related books in Arabic, English and Japanese such as literature, Japanese language learning, Manga art in English and Japanese.

The exhibition will remain on view until 2 June, daily from 9am to 9pm except Fridays at the Gezira Arts Centre.

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