○It is said that the port cities which opened at the end of Edo period such as Hokkaido, Niigata, Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki were the places where Western Cuisine came into Japan.
But they say the very place that made Western Cuisine spread all over Japan was “Tsukiji”.
○From the end of Edo period to Meiji period, “Tsukiji Hotel-Kan”, the first Western style hotel by Japanese was made in Tsukiji.
At first, the second president of Shimizu-Gumi(present Shimizu-Kensetsu), Kisuke Shimizu asked the Tokugawa Shogunate for permission of construction.
But when it was constructed, the shogunate had collapsed and Edo was renamed as Tokyo. It was the first year of Meiji Period.
For starting the new capital city Tokyo, the new Meiji government prepared the facilities for foreigners by setting Foreign Settlement in Tsukiji. “Tsukiji Hotel-Kan” was used as one of them.
○The constructed hotel was composed of the main building of 2 stories, having 102 rooms, flush toilets, shower rooms, a dining room, from breakfasts to dinners, genuine Western foods were served.
The top chef of this “Tsukiji Hotel-Kan” was a French called Louis Beguex. This hotel was burned down because of “The big fire of Ginza” in Feburary in 1872.
After that, Louis Beguex became the top chef of “Yokohama Grand
Hotel” and the president of “Kobe Oriental Hotel”. He is said to
have been one of those who spread French Cuisine in Japan.
○In Feaburary in 1872, under the support of Tomomi Iwakura, “Seiyou Hotel” (the first top chef : a Swiss called Carl Hess) was made in Tsukij : It was the oldest Western restaurant in Japan that still exists, The construction of it was because of lack of genuine facilities for serving foreigners in Tokyo.But, on the very opening day, “The big fire of Ginza” burned down it as well as the “Tsukiji Hotel-Kan”
After that, “Seiyoken Hotel” reopend in smaller scale. In the next year (1873) , it was renamed as “Tsukiji Seiyoken”. In 1875, it restarted its business in original scale. In 1876, its branch named “Ueno Seiyoken”, which was a restaurant in this case, was opened in Ueno. This “Ueno Seiyoken” would hold the main role of “Seiyoken” after disappearing “Tsukiji Seiyoken” becase of the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923.
○Until the end of Edo period, “Kaigun-Denshinjo”, the training center for the Navy was placed in Tsukiji by the new Meiji government because of its strong relation with the Navy. In those days, Japan needed catching up with advanced foreign countries as soon as possible. Naval officers were advised to have meals at “Tsukiji Seiyoken” and master Western style manners, Owing to it,”Tsukiji Seiyoken” became much more popular.
From Meiji period to Taisho period, “Tsukiji Seiyoken” had the greatest time. Those who wanted to be chefs of French cuisine kept coming for training. Many excellent chefs were born there: such as Tokuzo Akiyama, the famous chef served the emperor, Maskichi Nishio, who learned from the king of French cuisine Auguste Escoffier and so on.
And disciples of them spread Western Cuisine all over Japan.
It is said that many cooks were recruited from the ones who were from “Tsukiji Seiyoken” for opening the Imperial Hotel in 1890.
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