Umami Information Center


Umami Luncheon Seminar in the Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan Tohoku Branch

December 2012

The 51st Conference of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan Tohoku Branch was held at Aomori University (Aomori City, Aomori Prefecture) on Saturday, October 7, 2012. Universities with pharmaceutical sciences faculties in the Tohoku Region take turns to organize the conference of the above branch annually around this time of year. This was the first time for Aomori University to host the conference. A total of 103 papers on various research themes was presented orally and 45 on posters. Active discussions were conducted by about 300 participants in 7 venue. Moreover, the luncheon seminar, one of the programs of this academic conference, was held as a public lecture open to the general public, in which Dr. Kenzo Kurihara, professor at Aomori University and president of Umami Information Center, gave a lecture titled: "The appeal of umami that the world has recognized as the fifth basic taste." About 240 participants, including academic society members, Aomori University undergraduate and graduate students, and ordinary citizens, attentively listened to his lecture.

Dr. Kurihara presented by Dr. Yasufumi Sakitani, President, Aomori University, as a leading authority in the research of umami, mounted the platform, and gave a 90-minute lecture that clearly showed his enthusiasm for the study of umami.
In the lecture, he firstly explained the sense of taste, an important factor of deliciousness, and then, umami, which the world has recognized as the fifth basic taste.
He then discussed the discovery of glutamate by Dr. Kikunae Ikeda, history of the discovery of inosinate and guanylate, the variety of functions of umami that is attracting attention from all over the world, and moreover, incorrect recognition of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and umami seasonings and the process of the activities to correct the recognition.

We believe that the history of how Dr. Kikunae Ikeda, while he learned in Germany, came to hope to improve the physique of Japanese people to compare favorably with that of Westerners, which motivated him in the discovery of umami, and the fact that the commercialization of umami seasonings has helped many people easily enjoy a dietary life, taking advantage of umami, has had a strong impact on the students who study in the same field of science. Moreover, it was impressive that not only the researchers and students but also ordinary citizens who took part in the event listened to the lecture attentively and with great interest.

The Umami Information Center conducts dissemination activities on various occasions so that umami and umami seasonings are properly understood.