Japan Pizza Culture

22 January 2020

Matt Goulding in “Slice of Tokyo: How Japan Became a Pizza Hotspot”:

After passing my final exam before a panel of Naples’ old guard of pizzamakers, I asked the judges who else, besides the Italians, were making good pizzas. Most just smirked and ignored the question, as if it had no reasonable answer. But one of the older gentlemen waited until the conversation moved on before waving me in close:

“Don’t tell anyone I told you this, but the Japanese are making better pizzas than we are.”

I had, indeed, a wonderful Margherita at Seirinkan while I was in Tokyo three years ago.

Related, from one of my favorite essays by Craig Mod on the same subject, “Tokyo Neapolitan: The New Wave of Japanese Pizza”:

“Pizza shops are not quite like bakeries, not quite like restaurants — everything comes together in a single moment; 60 seconds determine the success or failure of a meal.”


It turns out the decision to pre-cut a pizza comes with its own philosophical underpinnings

Inoue believes that because a pizza is not perfectly symmetrical in terms of ingredient distribution, each slice is inevitably a little different; there's no way to cut a pizza in a way that perfectly captures its entire essence in a single slice. His ideal is for one person to eat an entire pie on their own, ensuring they experience the full spectrum of flavors.

And also slightly related, a more recent one by the same Craig Mod: “I Walked 600 Miles Across Japan for Pizza Toast”.