Gratitude and perservation – SHINSHU GIBIER
‘Gibier’ is a wild bird or animal hunted for food. Originally, the culture of hunting and eating wild animals was well-established in Europe. The royal aristocrats of Europe would first enjoy hunting, then they talk over the results of the hunt while eating cooked gibier. It is said that such customs gradually spread among the common people, and Gibier has been loved as a noble and special cuisine. On the other hand, in Japan, Buddhism is widely worshiped and eating meat has been prohibited up until the 19th century. However, in the colder mountainous regions such as Nagano Prefecture, where agriculture becomes difficult in winter, the custom of eating meat has lasted for a long time since it was considered a valuable source of protein. Suwa Taisha shrine has housed the god of hunt and the god of valor since ancient times. Those who had buddhist amulets were allowed to eat venison to live even in an era when hunting and killing other beings were hated and sinful. Suwa Taisha spread the teaching ‘mercy and killing are compatible’, attracting hunters and samurai (Japanese warriors) from all over for worship.
Protecting the environment – the allure of gibier
Eventually in the latter half of the 20th century, people’s lives changed drastically, and distribution networks improved. They began to eat livestock raised in large quantities and seafood on a daily basis, and the regional characteristics of food were gradually lost. However, in recent years with the devastation of Satoyama, which is the rural landscape that spread between villages and mountains, the habitat of wild animals that lived in deep mountains gradually expanded into Satoyama. Agricultural produce, forest produce, and even rare alpine plants were damaged, affecting the forest ecosystem itself. In this historical context, gibier developed alongside the food culture that has been around in Japan for a long time. New food cultures such as French, in which gibier meat is used mainly, has also been brought to Japan, and it has become known as gibier. From crispy venison cutlet to venison curry that has been simmered until it becomes a thick consistency, various ways of enjoying gibier cuisine are spreading, containing both Japanese and Western styles.
Appreciating lives and eating as a whole
Originally, Japanese hunters who worship the mountain god have many mountain rules to follow. Hunting itself has been considered a sacred act. Also, modern hunting is never a hunter’s pastime, but a necessary process to protect the Satoyama’s environment and people’s livelihoods. The captured wild animals are hunted not only for food, but also their horns, bones, skin Everything is utilized for things such as furniture and accessories, in the spirit of “respecting animal lives and Using Everything. “ We must never forget to appreciate without waste, and in exchange for their lives, the natural environment is protected. We can say that ‘Shinshu Gibier’ embodies the spirit of Nagano prefecture, which values the climate and environment.