Kyushoku: The Making of a Japanese School Lunch

Ever since 1954, kyushoku (school lunch) has been an official part of the Japanese school curriculum. Over the years, the laws and menu items have changed, from adding the role of a nutritionist to including rice. Get an inside look into how the Japanese school lunch is made and what food education looks like in one of Japan’s public elementary schools.

I have two English versions. The regular “English” only translates the Japanese portions. The “English UK” subtitles have captions for the entire video. If you don’t know how to change your subtitle settings, check out

Special thanks to Umejima Elementary School in Adachi-ku, Tokyo, that let me film over two days. You can see their school lunch menu at

This video wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support from those on Patreon. To support projects like this, please go to

Watch the Q+A video I did about Kyushoku at

Additional sources of information for the video are:
– School Lunch Program in Japan –
– Museum of MEXT –
– On Japan’s school lunch menu: A healthy meal, made from scratch – Washington Post –
– Hayato Ikeda By Koch, Eric / Anefo – [1] Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANeFo), 1945-1989, bekijk toegang, Bestanddeelnummer 914-5294, CC BY-SA 3.0 nl,
– San Francisco Peace Treaty
– Peace Works
– Tanabata By ★Kumiko★ from Tokyo, Japan – 七夕, CC BY-SA 2.0,
– Household income by wards in Tokhyo –
– Japan: Governance and Accountability
– Japan Might Be What Equality in Education Looks Like –
– School lunch program for health promotion among children in Japan –

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21 Replies to “Kyushoku: The Making of a Japanese School Lunch”

  1. Raven Chan

    If I will be given a chance to be the president of USA. These will be the top priority to implement ASAP. No wonder Japanese are so innovative, resilient, and well mannered. It always goes down from day 1

  2. TheRandomThings

    It’s seems this video took before pandemic. Serving kids are wearing mask 😷. Good hygiene standards maintained in Japan 🙏.


    School lunch where I a from was a living Nightmare the Mystery Meat takes like cigarettes that has been bathing in onion soup & beef broth. Powder imitation potatoes. Genetic Peanut Butter bottom of the barrel ingredients on everything but the Land-O-Lake Butter on the cheap bleached white cheap bread. Rectangular raw NEVER DONE I MEAN NEVER DONE OR COOKED pizza raw dough. Fake cheese that never melt taste like plastic looks like plastic with fake cheese smell. Radioactive milk from Russia bc it was 25 a gallon. That they mass produce in those paper cartons. Nasty NEVER SEASON I MEAN NEVER SEASON FOOD OF ANY KIND FAKE NASTY GENERIC EGGS SAUSAGE BACON. You name it here in Louisville, Kentucky you will be met by racist people all around zombies horrible school food. Corruption in all police departments as well as all the courthouses here. The REAL HELL ON EARTH. Please come here & find out yourself. Take me with you so I can show the world as well how disgusting & disrespectful the population here is.


    Wow that's Kool they have like Japanese Foodstamps amazing. Plus the food is better than American school lunches. I'm moving to Japan

  5. Zenaida Guardado

    ああすごい! 行った小学校のようですね! うわー、私は実際に人々が日本の学校給食のビデオをしたことを知りませんでした。

  6. Isabela Farcas

    In Romania we don't even have school lunches in public schools. Everyone brings lunch from home and eats in the classroom in one of the breaks between classes.

  7. 3forte

    My elementary to high school food was dominated by chicken patty and fries and also square pizzas. Though in high school food was a wee bit better with the option of in-house made footlongs.

  8. mynk

    If grown up in Japan,everyone would easily notice that almost all the kyushoku has Carrots in its ingredients.

    The vegetable is very important for its nutrients, dieticians who plan a meal for kyushoku cut carrots into small pieces enough for children not to notice them much.

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