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https://www.discovernikkei.org/en/interviews/clips/1126/

Japanese-Peruvian Cuisine (Japanese)

(Japanese) There is something called Japanese-Peruvian cuisine. It’s interesting. Obviously, the first-generation Japanese-Peruvians at the time didn’t have much, but for festivals or birthdays or weddings, they of course wanted to make something like Japanese food. However, they didn’t have many ingredients, but with an attitude of “hey, let’s make do with what we’ve got”, they made many things. But they really took great pains with it. And they used a lot of ingenuity. So now we have that type of cooking.

And you can really see traces of that ingenuity by the Japanese-Peruvians in that cooking. For example, if they didn’t have mochi rice, they’d make something like mochi using cassava. And back when they didn’t have umeboshi (pickled plums), they’d get something that tasted just like a plum from the jungle…Those were legumes – the flower of a legume similar to lupin. If you cure it in salt, it really does take like a plum. And it’s said they ate that in place of plums. And today, if you ask what became of that, it’s a separate item from plums. If you eat it, it tastes like shiba-zuke (salted rape blossoms) from Kyoto. Something like that doesn’t exist in Japan. So they use things like that in Japanese-Peruvian cooking.

Furthermore, if you go to the countryside, the Japanese-Peruvians of course invite you over. When that happens, you’ll find remnants of the past… Take shiitake mushrooms, for example. They used to be more expensive than silver – dried shiitake, that is. When silver was around $5 an ounce, if you were talking about an ounce of dried shiitake, it might be around $30. So that was something you only ate on special occasions. And they probably ate dried shiitake because it didn’t go bad quickly. On these special occasions…in other words, on birthdays, weddings…on those special days, they’d have shiitake, as well as harusame noodles. Then, they’d boil the food. Even now, if you go to the countryside, you’ll find that kind of cooking.


cooking cuisine food fusion cuisine Peru

Date: April 18, 2007

Location: Lima, Peru

Interviewer: Ann Kaneko

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Toshiro Konishi was born on July 11, 1953, the fourth son of a long-established Japanese restaurant owner in Saito City, Miyazaki Prefecture. Having played in the kitchen from around the age of six, at 11-years-old, Konishi began helping out in the kitchen with other chef candidates. Then in 1971, at age 16, he headed to Tokyo and became a chef at the restaurant “Fumi”.

In 1974, he moved to Peru with Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, known in America, Japan, and elsewhere for his Japanese fusion cuisine at his restaurant, “Nobu”. After working at the Japanese restaurant “Matsuei” for ten years, he opened “Toshiro’s” and “Wako” in a Sheraton hotel in Lima. In 2002, he also became manager of “Sushi Bar Toshiro’s” in the San Isidro region.

Aside from running the restaurants, he taught at San Ignacio de Loyola University, participated in culinary festivals around the world, introduced innovative cuisine known as “Peruvian Fusion” (a mix of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines), and received numerous awards. In 2008 he became the first Japanese chef based in Latin America to receive the Japanese government’s Minister's Prize from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. (October 2009)

Jane Aiko Yamano
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Jane Aiko Yamano

New Year's food

(b.1964) California-born business woman in Japan. A successor of her late grandmother, who started a beauty business in Japan.

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Wayne Shigeto Yokoyama
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Wayne Shigeto Yokoyama

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Peggie Nishimura Bain
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Peggie Nishimura Bain

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Art Shibayama
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Art Shibayama

Activities growing up in Peru

(1930-2018) Nisei born in Peru. Taken to the United States during WWII.

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Art Shibayama

Family's deportation from Peru to U.S. after the bombing of Pearl Harbor

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Art Shibayama

Denied redress as a Japanese Peruvian

(1930-2018) Nisei born in Peru. Taken to the United States during WWII.

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Alfredo Kato
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Alfredo Kato

Japanese vs. Peruvian identity (Spanish)

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Alfredo Kato
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Alfredo Kato

Peru Shimpo for the Nikkei community (Spanish)

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Alfredo Kato
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Alfredo Kato

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Alfredo Kato
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Alfredo Kato

Post-war experiences in Lima (Spanish)

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Vince Ota
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Vince Ota

Little contact with Asians growing up on the east coast

Japanese American Creative designer living in Japan

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Margaret Oda
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Margaret Oda

Memories of family dinners

(1925 - 2018) Nisei educator from Hawai‘i

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Margaret Oda
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Margaret Oda

Symbolic New Year’s foods prepared from scratch

(1925 - 2018) Nisei educator from Hawai‘i

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Luis Yamada
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Luis Yamada

Suffering in World War II (Spanish)

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Venancio Shinki
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Venancio Shinki

We go to America (Spanish)

(b. 1932-2016) Peruvian painter

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