The latest update about vegans in Japan
Veganism started in England in 1944. Their initial reason for veganism was for animal rights. The movement evolved through time by supported by different groups of people such as Hippies. Recent years, veganism is getting more popular and spread all over the world. Here is the latest information for vegans in Japan.
According to the Wikipedia, surprisingly, about 2% of Japanese population is vegans. Due to Japanese Buddhism history, traditional Japanese diet is quite close to vegetarianism and veganism; thus it might not be so difficult to be a vegan in Japan. However, the majority of current generation of Japanese people would be meat eaters. Compered to western countries, Japanese people would be less aware of veganism and its true meaning.
It is not uncommon to find vegan options in first food chains in some counties nowadays; but it would not be available in Japan. However, it is not difficult to find vegetarian/vegan restaurants and cafes in major cities. Often they serve fashionable and gourmet dishes; some may also serve local organic products.
NPO organization, Japan Vegan Project (they have English page: https://vegeproject.org/en/) is working towards spreading the idea of veganism in Japan. They are offering a service to certify “vegan” to food service business in Japan, as well as promoting veganism to next generation. (this kind of movement was targeted to be criticize in the past due to political reasons but it is not present at this time. The reason behind this would be that some of the activists were known as extremists and violent. )
Vegan friendly toiletries are available in on line shops in Japan; most of the products would be imported from abroad thus it is not reasonably priced. It might be difficult to live as a fully vegan in Japan from this kind of prospective. This is because the true idea of veganism is unknown to many Japanese people. It may be wise to come to Japan with own stocks of vegan friendly toiletries until you find a good local supplier.
As people can know from the history, strict vegans needed a special community. Japan is sadly not following the latest vegan trend; animal based products are widely used everywhere from everyday clothing to constructions. It would be very hard to find vegan-friendly products compare to some other counties.
In “vegan” trend countries, there are many interesting and unique meat alternatives dishes on display. Some of the vegan products taste exactly the same as the original “non vegan” version such as ice-cream and cakes. Due to increase of food allergy, more dairy free products are available in Japan. So it may be soon to see “vegan” options more frequently in Japan.
Veganism was originally so much more than just a healthy living diet choice but it is not really known to Japanese people. Some sustainable living communities in Japan would definitely share the similar beliefs so it would be interesting to see how this movement is going to spread.
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