Giving Kids a Taste of Umami

March 2007

What is UMAMI?

  • While elsewhere in the world some chefs and food experts are still getting to grips with the concept of the fifth taste, in Japan school children are being given an opportunity to learn about umami thanks to a new educational DVD.

    Elementary knowledge

    Kikunae anime

    How to make dashi
    The disc, entitled 'What is Umami?', has been produced by the Umami Information Center and is being distributed to schools throughout Japan. It is designed to serve as a useful tool for teachers in giving lessons on food and nutrition during the integrated study class time that features in the curriculum of Japanese elementary schools.

    Topics covered in the disc include:
    ? What the five basic tastes are
    ? How human beings perceive taste
    ? Animation showing the discovery of umami
    ? How dashi stock is made
    ? The role of umami in Japanese dishes

    The disc also includes:
    ? Story cards for use in lessons
    ? Teachers' guide including suggestions on how to incorporate the topic of umami into lessons

    Varied & interesting

    Each of these topics is introduced in an engaging and accessible way, with techniques such as animation, drama, documentary and interview being employed to get the message across. The disc also includes a revealing interview with Dr. Kenzo Kurihara, Principal of Japan's Aomori University, on the importance of umami and taste in general, which will be of interest to older pupils and teachers alike.

    Paper anime
    International interest

    The disc is only available in Japanese, but the Umami Information Center welcomes enquiries from anyone outside Japan interested in the initiative. As food and nutritional education for children becomes a more important topic globally, it is hoped that 'What is Umami?' will have a useful role to play.

    For further information and enquiries, please contact

  • What is UMAMI?

    Kikunae anime

    How to make dashi

    Paper anime

  • Kikunae anime

    How to make dashi

    Paper anime