TOKYO, Jan. 23 – On January 24, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan launched a campaign to promote rice produced in Japan in cooperation with Japanese restaurants in two major cities in China. A total of 26 Japanese restaurants in Beijing and Shanghai are providing specialty meals using rice from Japan, such as hitsumabushi (grilled and chopped eel on rice) and yaki-onigiri (grilled seasoned rice balls). The campaign is also to introduce the diners Internet shopping sites that sell Japanese rice. This way, it intends to make more people buy and eat them and expand the exports.
For 19 days until February 11, 12 sushi bars and izakaya casual Japanese restaurants in Beijing and 14 in Shanghai serve dishes developed with Japan’s rice-producing regions. The meals provided at each restaurant are different and include gudakusan-kamameshi (rice cooked in an individual pot with a lot of different ingredients) and chirashi-zushi (sushi rice in a bowl with a variety of raw fish and vegetable toppings). Some restaurants even give tasting events or cooking classes using rice from Japan. According to Embassy of Japan in China, the bars and restaurants who participated in the program will hopefully continue using Japanese rice.
Officials of the embassy explained that the restaurants are to place flyers with QR codes of online markets including Alibaba, China’s largest online shopping site, so that their customers can easily access the Japanese rice retailers after the dining experience. Then the online retailers are going to expand the sales by focusing on Japanese rice. “The campaign is expected to make more people eat and enjoy Japanese rice at the restaurants, and furthermore, choose to buy them,” they added.