In 1982 the School Dietitian Conference of Japan celebrated the 35th anniversary of school meals (給食 or “kyushoku”). To comemorate this day, it was decided that curry rice should be served on every January 22. The conference agreed on curry rice for the simple reason that children really love it.
Curry rice is one of the most popular dishes in Japan because it is easy to make with vegetables (mostly onions, carrots, potatoes), meat and curry sauce. The current school meal system was developed after World War II in 1946. It was first launched in Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba as a trial. In 1947 school meals were provided to 3 million children around the country.
The system was originally funded in part by the Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia (LARA). This group was established by eleven US volunteer organizations in 1946. LARA was active from 1946 to 1952 and sent large amounts of food and clothing to Japan in particular. 20% of all relief supplies were contributed by Japanese communities in North and South America.
Let us remember the kindness and dedication of relief organizations and helpers while enjoying a meal of curry rice.