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Exhibitions - 06.21.2018 - 07.29.2018

SATOYAMA | Evolving with the Forest

Tsubaki and Koji | Photo by Sergio Coimbra | Studio SC



Mon. - Sat.

10:00AM – 8:00PM


10:00AM – 7:00PM


Thanksgiving Day 
Christmas Day


JAPAN HOUSE Gallery, Level 2



JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles presents “Satoyama: Evolving with the Forest,” a visual journey celebrating Japanese cuisine and Satoyama—a uniquely Japanese brand of environmentalism. The exhibition is comprised of photographs, objects, writings and video that offer a glimpse into the culinary creations of renowned Japanese chef Yoshihiro Narisawa and his passion for “bringing nature to the plate.”

“Satoyama: Evolving with the Forest” includes more than 60 photographs by celebrated Brazilian food photographer Sergio Coimbra. The photographs are the product of a three-year collaboration between Narisawa and Coimbra, who traveled together throughout Japan in search of indigenous ingredients from local producers. Larger-than-life photographs of each dish serve as heroic homages to Narisawa’s creations, and capture in stunning detail and color the artistry behind the food. Complementing the photographs are an assortment of objects playing key roles in Narisawa’s practice and excerpts of Narisawa’s journal writings offering insight into the philosophy and inspiration behind each dish. Japan House will additionally present unique prototypes of a new book to be published by Narisawa and Coimbra, featuring handmade covers in traditional materials such as lacquer and handmade Japanese paper (washi).

Narisawa’s work is grounded in an understanding and appreciation of the natural relationships existing within nature, and specifically in the forest. These relationships between microbes, plants, animals, humans, and the seasons have been cultivated and passed along by the Japanese for hundreds of years. Forests, which cover 70% of the Japanese landscape, contain the ecosystems that sustain communities. By integrating agricultural systems adjacent to forests and harvesting resources in a sustainable manner, humans have truly evolved with the forest.

Narisawa draws directly from forests and fields to populate his dishes. Examples include koji, recognized as Japan’s national fungus; binchotan charcoal; tree bark; and foraged leaves. Narisawa’s “Soil Soup” made with actual soil has become one of his signature dishes, which he says, "expresses the importance of the environment through what we eat." His Tokyo restaurant, Narisawa, serves dishes ranging from sea snake broth to Wagyu beef, and is regularly included on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

The term Satoyama encapsulates the relationship between humans and nature, the core of Narisawa’s practice. Sato means a “place where people live,” and yama means “mountain.” The term can be understood as a uniquely Japanese brand of environmentalism that positions humanity firmly rooted within the natural world, and not as an outlier.

About Yoshihiro Narisawa

Yoshihiro Narisawa is the world-renowned chef and owner of Narisawa restaurant in Tokyo. He is considered a pioneer in the world of Japanese cooking, applying new techniques, textures and flavors to the country’s traditional cuisine after many years working with top chefs across Europe. At age 19, he embarked on his culinary studies in France, Switzerland and Italy, before returning to Japan in 1996. In 2003, he moved to Tokyo and opened the restaurant Les Créations de Narisawa, which garnered two Michelin stars in 2010. The restaurant was renamed Narisawa in 2011.

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His dishes such as Soil Soup, Water Salad and Essence of the Forest exemplify his strong interest in epicurean ecology, and his theme of “beneficial and sustainable gastronomy.” His dedication to sourcing produce from organic farmers, and his philosophy centered on innovative Satoyama cuisine, have been recognised in the industry with multiple awards. At the Madrid Fusion 2010, he was voted “Most Influential Chef” of the year, while in 2013 his Narisawa restaurant won first place in the Asia's 50 Best Restaurants award. In 2015, it ranked No. 8 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, making it the Best Ranked Restaurant in Asia.

About Sergio Coimbra

Sergio Coimbra is one of the world's leading food photographers. He was awarded the “Grand Prix de la Photographie du Tourisme Gastronomique” at the Festival International de la Photographie in Paris in 2011, and the 2010 Grand Prix du Public. His studio is dedicated exclusively to food photography, chefs and kitchen professionals. He has photographed for world famous chefs such as Alex Atala, Massimo Bottura, Heston Blumenthal, Tsuyoshi Murakami, Yoshihiro Narisawa and Nuno Mendes, transforming their dishes into works of art.

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Pierre Hermé: Chocolate (Flammarion); Fluidità and 178 ore in Brasile by Massimiliano and Raffaele Alajmo; D.O.M.: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients by Alex Atala (Phaidon Press); Brazilian Cuisine of the Vanguard by Felipe Bronze (Sextante); Satoyama by Yoshihiro Narisawa.

His work has been exhibited at Alimentário, Milan Expo 2015; Alimentário, São Paulo, Brazil OCA (2015); Alimentário, Rio de Janeiro MAM (2014); Collections Chefs, Guildhall, London, 50 Best (2014); Fluiditá, Library, Venice Biennale (2013); Encuentros, Basque Culinary Center, San Sebastian (2012); Marmitas, Dupont Gallery, Paris (2011).

Gallery Photos


*To view the flipbook in full screen, please click on the "Fullscreen" icon on the lower right-hand corner from the window above.

Exhibition Credits

Organized and Presented by: JAPAN HOUSE Los Angeles
Design and Realization by: Felipe Ribenboim | Ritual Cultura e Entertainmento/Base7

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