The Japanese food transition

1. Peak “buckwheat noodle” came in 1914.

2. Peak horse meat came in the 1960s.

3. Peak whale meat came in 2005-2006, although some of that supply was frozen and has not yet been consumed.

4. The consumption of vegetables has been broadly constant for decades.

5. Yearly per capita pork consumption has risen from 1.1 kg in 1960 to 11.7 kg in 2008.  During the 1960s, the consumption of chicken meat nearly quintupled.

6. In 1876, per capita sake consumption was 17 liters per capita, which was very high for Japanese income at the time.  You can compare that to America’s 7 liters of ethanol per drinking age person in 1870.

7. Land area under cultivation peaked in 1921.  The United States and China, however, cultivated more land in 2000 than they did in 1900.

8. Japan’s paddy fields peaked in 1969.

9. In 2006 Japanese meat consumption edged out fish consumption for the first time.

All of those estimates are from a very interesting book by Vaclav Smil and Kazuhiko Kobayashi, Japan’s Dietary Transition and Its Impacts.


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