The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Army faced off to determine which side was more worthy of the title of “Iron Chef.”
Since 1982, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF), the main branch of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, and the U.S. Army have participated in joint command post exercises to strengthen ties between the two forces. These exercises have typically been held twice per year and are known as Yama Sakura, which means “mountain cherry blossoms.”
The 69th Yama Sakura is currently being held until December 18 at JGSDF Camp Itami in Itami City, Hyogo Prefecture. On December 8, the two groups participated not in a battle of physical strength, tactics, or sharp-shooting, as one might expect, but in a cooking competition modeled after the internationally popular TV program Iron Chef.
For this contest, each side formed one team of five people. The two teams received a basket full of mystery ingredients, which they then used to create dishes based on this year’s theme of “a full-course meal” within the strict time limit of two hours. Both countries also elected three judges each to score the final dishes based on their taste, presentation, and creativity.
Who do you think won this year’s Iron Chef competition?
▼ A short video of this year’s competition
As you can see in the video above, the U.S. Army won this year’s challenge by a narrow margin. You can bet that the JGSDF will be back with a vengeance during the next competition!
On a final note, here’s a video from last year’s cooking competition, which took place at JGSDF Camp Asaka in Saitama Prefecture. May the high-stakes cooking competition continue for many future Yama Sakura to come!