Japanese curry and the Royal Navy connection

Posted on 4 Sep. 2017

cookbuzz Editorial

Everyone knows that curry comes from India. Or is it from Sri Lanka? It's fair to say, at least, that it originates in that part of the world. India, long colonised by the British, gave the curry to the Royal Navy who, in turn, carried it across the seas to Japan. It became the perfect foodstuff for those living offshore, due to its high carbohydrate, protein and vitamin content. Quick and easy to prepare and cook, the curry was the favoured staple for the Japanese Imperial Navy, feeding its sailors since the late 18th century. Of course, the dish has evolved to suit Japanese tastes and is now quite different from the Indian original, but it ranks as one of Japan's national dishes. It's famously said that the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force still provides curry to its sailors every Friday. The reason? Out on the seas, every day begins to look just like another, so the regular appearance of a curry denotes that it's a Friday.

So, Japan imported the idea of the curry along with other Western ideas and influences such as the railway, construction and beer immediately its doors opened to the world after the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Now, after years of adapting the curry to its own unique style and taste, Japan wants the Western world to learn about and love its Japanese curry. Our cookbuzz video for Japanese Curry Rice contributes to this wonderful curry exchange!