Japan has long had an interest in Italian cuisine, dating back to the Meiji period when Italian “inspired” dishes like Napolitan spaghetti first became popular. In recent decades the focus has shifted from these reinterpretations of Italian dishes to more authentic Italian flavors and techniques. Beyond just flavor, the appeal of Italian food to Japanese chefs and diners may also be attributed to Italian cuisine’s emphasis on the heritage of food, the flavor of a mother’s cooking, and the use of locally grown and seasonal ingredients, which are also foundations of Japanese cuisine.
One of the most internationally recognized and widespread cuisines, Italian food is also ingrained in Japanese society.
Both Japanese and Italian cuisine share common elements, most notably, an emphasis on seasonality and simplicity. Japanese-Italian food adds its characteristic attention to detail, and a light, delicate touch. Similar to the way French food has permeated Japanese cuisine, Italian food is both faithfully represented, and given Japanese accents, such as incorporates local ingredients like mentaiko, yuzu citrus, myoga native ginger, shiso leaf and sakura ebi.