RIP Yokohama Curry Museum 横濱カレーミュージアム閉店

I was going to post a new risotto today, but the risotto I made turned out inexplicably bad. I couldn’t even finish it. But hey, one failure out of thirteen original risottos ain’t too shabby!

Anyway, this is old news, but the Yokohama Curry Museum, one of Japan’s original food museum-parks, has closed. The museum offered some of Japan’s finest and most unique curry, and it was a major part of my senior thesis. Here is my obituary, cross-posted on Displaying Japan.

After more than six years serving curry from nationally celebrated restaurants to hungry visitors in a historicized context, the Yokohama Curry Museum has closed. The museum saw approximately 8.7 million visitors and hosted dozens of curry shops from its opening in 2001 until its closure last year.

The Yokohama Curry Museum, or as it was colloquially known, the YCM or karemyū was originally built as part of Namco’s “Nanja Town” entertainment complex in central Yokohama. The Curry Museum’s main attraction was an all-curry food court situated in a two-story recreation of early twentieth-century Yokohama Harbor, including a large, red lighthouse and the hull of a fake ocean liner. A corridor of educational cabinet-style displays, including Japanese curry-related miscellany and blurbs about the history of curry in Japan, could be found along the perimeter of the park’s mezzanine level.

The Yokohama Curry Museum was an example of the immersive eating environments usually called “food theme parks” that sprang up throughout the country following the success of the Shinyokohama Ramen Museum. Food theme parks sometimes place their foods in historical or cultural settings, as in the Curry Museum, but more often the settings are arbitrary or nonsensical, as in the Fukuoka Dessert Forest and Ikebukuro’s Gyoza Stadium. The Curry Museum adhered to the Ramen Museum’s blueprint more closely than most food theme parks, maintaining an important educational element and venerating curry as a modern national tradition connected to a transformative time in recent Japanese history – in this case, the late Meiji and early Taisho eras.

The Yokohama Curry Museum closed along with the rest of Nanja Town on March 31, 2007.

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