Yakuzen” is also in the name of Azabu Juban Yakuzen Curry Shinkai. What kind of image comes to mind when you hear the word “yakuzen”? I am sure that only vague things come to mind, and it is hard to explain it clearly. So, this time, I would like to mention “YAKUZEN”.
1. what is YAKUZEN?
You are feeling somewhat unwell even though you are spending your time as usual. I don’t have any cold symptoms, but I feel signs of a cold. I feel sluggish. In ancient Chinese medical books, “mibyou” means that you feel something different from your daily life. In other words, “pre-symptomatic” refers to the stage before illness. It is a state of being on the way to illness, a state of imbalance in the body. Therefore, yakuzen is a cuisine prepared by combining ingredients and herbal medicines to improve and maintain the balance of the body to a healthy state before the illness becomes a disease.
Yakuzen cuisine is not something that is featured in health programs that say “this cuisine is effective. It is basically prepared according to the season and the physical condition of the person who eats it. For example, if a person who is concerned about coldness combines ingredients that help the body to release heat, it may not be suitable for his/her constitution because it may deprive the body of heat necessary for heat retention. In addition, the same dish may not suit some people’s constitution. It is also believed that by using ingredients that are in season according to the season, the body can take in the power of the ingredients that are appropriate for the climate. For example, many foods that are in season during the winter months have a warming effect on the body, while foods that increase immunity and bitter foods that protect the body from various stimuli become more common during the spring months. The concept of yakuzen cuisine, which supports health through food, is to cook according to one’s physical constitution and the season.
2. History of Yakuzen
About 3,000 years ago in China, a legendary man named Shennong, who is also called the founder of herbal medicine, appeared and put available plants in his mouth to check “which plant is good for making the stomach growl when hungry” and “which plant is good for regulating body condition when feeling sick” one after another, They checked each plant one by one to see if it contained poison and what its efficacy was as an herbal medicine. The Sinnohonzo Jing, the oldest extant collection of Chinese herbal medicines, introduces herbal medicines and ingredients such as plants, fruits, animals, and minerals, and classifies 365 species into three ranks: refined, medium, and inferior. The book also lists 170 names of diseases.
The concept of medicinal herbs is not new. The term “food medicine” (there were four other medical systems: “疾医”, “瘍医”, “瘍医”, and “獣医”) appears in the Shū rui, which describes the bureaucratic system during the Zhou dynasty (10th to 7th century B.C.) when King Wu destroyed the Shang dynasty and established the Zhou dynasty. ), it can be seen that in this period, the emperor and his concubines were already providing health maintenance and cure to the people with food that had curative and preventive effects. The theory of medicinal herbs has been described and organized as a theory in the famous medical treatise on Chinese medicine, “The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine,” which describes “five tastes (spicy, sweet, sour, bitter, and salty),” the relationship between the five tastes and the five organs (five elements theory), and the combination and usage of medicines and ingredients.
3. the concept of yakuzen
Listening to the voice of the body is the basic concept of yakuzen. For example, ask your own body, “Are you getting enough sleep?”, “Do you have a good appetite?”, “Are you tired?” and listen to its voice. It is also important to understand that your physical condition is affected by the season and the weather. In yakuzen, we carefully observe each person’s physical condition and constitution, as well as the season and weather, and determine the ingredients and cooking methods appropriate to the results. There is no need to think too hard; it is simply a matter of creating a “self-menu” to make your body healthy. Here are three key words to understand YAKUZEN.
身土不二（shindofuji）( body and soul )
This means that the food of the land where you were born and raised is the best for your body. This means that the food of the land where one was born and raised is the best for one’s health.
冬病夏治（toubyoukaji）(Winter illness and summer cure)
This term means “to cure (prevent) winter illnesses during the summer. The idea is to eat the foods your body needs during the summer to get in good physical condition so that you will be disease-free in the winter.
医食同源（ishokudougen）(Medicine and food are one and the same source of life)
As many of you may know, this phrase means “medicine to cure illness and food are the same, and are the source of health. It can be said that this word represents the basic principle of yakuzen, which is to eat healthy food and become more energetic. (Reference: Living, and more push, EO. “Health”)
4. the difference between ordinary cuisine and yakuzen cuisine
The purpose is not only to taste good.
Oriental medicine believes that people become ill when “evil spirits” (bad things) enter the body and their own healing ability is defeated by them. In other words, the idea is that if one’s own healing ability is enhanced on a regular basis, the human body will be able to fight off the bad things that enter the body. The main purpose of YAKUZEN is to improve a person’s constitution by using various ingredients and cooking methods to cure ailments such as coldness and loss of appetite.
Prevent illness by using ingredients and cooking methods that suit you
In TCM, the concept of “pre-symptomatic” is used. Pre-symptomatic state refers to the state between health and illness, in which there are no clear symptoms, such as a feeling of weakness or lack of motivation. In order to prevent “mibyou”, yakuzen cuisine aims to investigate the cause of the disease, find out what you are lacking, and supply the missing nutrients with ingredients and cooking methods suited to your individual constitution.
Improvement of swelling and blisters ( indicating detoxification in yakuzen)
One of the themes of Yakuzen is to detoxify the body. Swelling and pimples on the body indicate some kind of abnormal reaction of the body and can be considered as evidence of a weakened detoxification function to expel wastes from the body. In such cases, YAKUZEN’s approach is to actively select ingredients such as ginger, walnuts, chives, and pork, which are expected to warm the body and promote blood circulation, and to select ingredients that are effective for the liver, since cooking methods and ingredients that enhance the function of the “liver” are key to detoxification (detoxification), and to improve them. . Thus, it is thought that Yakuzen has an image of “Yakuzen = beautiful skin and improvement of constipation” because of the idea of detoxification in Yakuzen.
5. Qualifications for YAKUZEN in Japan
There are many yakuzen certifications available in Japan, and we will introduce nine of them.
YAKUZEN ADJUSTMENT COORDINATOR is a certification granted by Japan Safe Food Cooking Association (JSFCA). In addition to basic knowledge of YAKUZEN, it certifies that the student fully understands the efficacy of ingredients as Chinese herbal medicine.
(1) YAKUZEN ADJUSTER
A yakuzen coordinator is a qualification authorized by the Japan Safe Food Cooking Association (JSFCA). In addition to basic knowledge of medicinal herbs, it certifies that the student fully understands the efficacy of ingredients as Chinese herbs.
(2) Kampo Advisor
This certification is granted by the Japan Skill Development Association. This certification is designed to certify that the applicant has acquired skills in basic knowledge of Chinese medicine and correct dosage methods, which can be used to improve the physical condition of oneself and one’s family members.
This certification is granted by Honzo Yakuzen Institute, an educational institution that trains specialists in medicinal herbs. By acquiring the certification, you will be able to acquire basic knowledge of medicinal herbs and easily incorporate medicinal herbs into your daily diet. After obtaining the certification, you can transfer to Honzo Yakuzen Academy with a partial tuition discount.
(4) YAKUZEN ADVISOR
YAKUZEN ADVISOR is a qualification certified by the Japanese Society of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Dietetics. It is a proof of having learned the basics of medicinal herbs. You are qualified to take examinations for “Chinese herbal food instructor” and “Chinese herbal food chef”.
This certification is granted by the Japan Ability Development Association. It certifies that the trainee has basic knowledge of medicinal herbs and Chinese medicine, and can propose optimal recipes for each disease or symptom. This certification is mainly for those who aim to work in the food and beverage industry or the medical and welfare industry.
This is a certification granted by the Society of Natural Medicine and Food Science. The former name “International Yakuzen Dietetic Master” was changed to the current name. This certification certifies that the candidate has knowledge and skills in “Wakanzen”, which is a Japanese version of traditional Chinese health food, Yakuzen.
This certification is granted by the Japan Ability Development Association. It can be certified that the candidate has comprehensive knowledge of various aspects of Chinese medicine, including basic knowledge about Chinese medicine, types of Chinese herbal medicines prescribed for different symptoms, and how to incorporate Chinese medicine into cooking and beauty treatments. However, they are not allowed to engage in medical activities such as diagnosing illnesses or prescribing Kampo medicines.
This is a private certification granted by the Japan Ability Development Association. In Hong Kong, there is a custom of eating yakuzen soup to maintain and improve health. This certification certifies that you have the knowledge of the theory and recipe of Hong Kong Yakuzen Soup and that you are able to use it in practice.
This certification is granted by the Japanese Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Nutritional Herbal Medicine. It certifies that the person has basic knowledge of Chinese medicine and medicinal herbal tea and has the ability to prepare appropriate medicinal herbal tea for each person.
６．examples of medicinal herbs
We unconsciously eat medicinal herbs without knowing it. For example, “chilled tofu with tofu and ginger” is a dish that many of you have probably had at least once, and many of you probably eat it frequently. In fact, this is also a Yakuzen dish. Just by adding ginger to tofu, it is a yakuzen dish that can be expected to regulate digestive functions, remove excess heat in the body, and detoxify the body.
Sashimi + shiso leaves + wasabi” is another yakuzen dish. Many people do not eat shiso leaves attached to sashimi as a divider or just for decoration, but eating these three together can be expected to have the following effects: detoxification, enhancing circulation and supporting digestive functions, and warming the stomach and preventing cold.
From this, we can say that we have been eating medicinal herbs without knowing it and that what has been served together for a long time makes sense. Those who have been avoiding medicinal herbs may feel much more familiar with them by learning about them.
７．What does yakuzen mean to you?
It is quite difficult to change the ingredients and cooking methods to suit each of our valued customers considering their individual physical condition, constitution, season and weather. Therefore, we believe that the yakuzen cuisine we can deliver to you is the luxurious use of a wide variety of spices and herbs, the selection of ingredients so as not to burden the gastrointestinal tract in terms of digestion and absorption, and our insistence on gluten-free, raw oil, and other cooking methods.
Furthermore, we also consider that our restaurant uses 10 kinds of vegetables by selecting medicinal pickles as a side menu, which can be expected to relieve fatigue due to acetic acid, because we want our customers to consume plenty of vegetables, which are essential for maintaining good health and are often lacking in intake in our daily lives.