washoku imagesUnited Television Broadcasting announced on March 13 the release of the documentary film “Wa-Shoku: Beyond Sushi,” a U.S.-Japan collaboration produced by United Television Broadcasting Systems and directed by award-winning director Junichi Suzuki.

The film will have a limited theatrical release in Los Angeles and New York and will also be available through iTunes as a digital download.

“Wa-Shoku” is an in-depth journey into the origins of the traditional food of Japan, or wa-shoku, in America and explores the history, impact and fascination of all Japanese cuisine — not just sushi — and its continuing global popularity.

Included in the documentary is the story of Noritoshi Kanai, chairman of Mutual Trading Co., the revolutionary man who introduced the U.S. to wa-shoku with sushi — a delicacy that would become a cultural phenomenon and still enjoys tremendous popularity to this day.

Director Suzuki provides intimate behind-the-scenes stories of well-known chefs who express their passion for wa-shoku and how they have dedicated their lives to uphold the standard of excellence of Japan’s customary cultural cuisine.

This film features many noteworthy celebrity chefs, including Nobu Matsuhisa, chef/owner of Nobu restaurants; Katsuya Uechi, chef/owner of Katsu-ya group; Tyson Cole, chef/owner of Uchi restaurant; world-renowned French chef Joel Robuchon; and Yoshihiro Murata, chef/owner of Kyoto Kikunoi.

This full-length feature, which runs just under 107 minutes, looks at the past and at the future possibilities of wa-shoku.

“Wa-Shoku” will open with a limited theatrical release in Southern California at the Laemmle Playhouse 7, 673 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, from April 10 to 16, and in New York’s Cinema Village, April 24 to 30. The film will be available April 10 as a digital download on iTunes. Visit http://washoku-film.com for more information.

For information on showings at the Laemmle Playhouse 7, call (626) 844-6500 or visit http://laemmle.com.

Having 30 years of experience as a motion picture director, writer and producer, seminar lecturer, and volunteer making educational films, Suzuki is credited as director, producer and/or screenwriter on 47 feature films. He has written and directed numerous TV documentaries and is a member of the Directors Guild of Japan. He is the founder of Eleven Arts Inc., a global distributor of Japanese movies based in Santa Monica.

Suzuki made a trilogy with UTB about the Japanese American experience during World War II: “Toyo’s Camera: Japanese American History During WWII,” “442: Live with Honor, Die with Dignity,” and “MIS: Human Secret Weapon.” He is married to actress Rumi Sakakibara.

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