Reading Nutritional Labels in Japan vs the US

The biggest difference between Japanese and American nutrition labels (apart from the language) is that Japanese labels are written per 100g rather than serving. This means that the serving size does not vary by product, allowing you to determine your own serving size. Due to this, “% daily value” is not included next to macronutrients on the Japanese nutritional label. Keep in mind though, that there are also instances where nutritional information is provided for more than the entire package (i.e. the package has less than 100g of food). 

The macronutrients included on Japanese nutritional labels are as follows:

  • エネルギー (enerugī) translates literally to “energy” and refers to calories. This one is easy to identify because the number is followed by kcal.
  • たんぱく質 (tanpakushitsu) is equivalent to protein.
  • 脂質 (shishitsu) is total fat and is calculated in grams (just as it is in the United States). 
  • 炭水化物  (tansuikabutsu) is carbohydrates. Japanese nutrition labels only show total carbs and do not divide them into dietary fibers and sugars. [Aki:it sometimes have this classification so better to change this to not always]
  • 食塩相当量 (shokuen sōtō ryō) represents sodium which is measured in grams rather than in milligrams. 

Though Japanese nutrition labels include similar macronutrients as in the US, minerals such as iron and potassium as well as detailed macronutrient information (trans fat, saturated fat, and added sugars) are not required and often not included. Please keep this in mind as you enjoy your Kokoro Care Package as you can find the nutritional information on our site (when available).  

Try practicing by comparing the following Japanese and US soba noodle nutritional labels (check the bottom of the page for the Japanese values to check your understanding):


Japanese

Japanese Nutritional Labels 

 

English

English Nutritional Labels 

 

The box below the nutrition information on Japanese packaging includes the following details: 

  • 名称 (meishou) - name of the product
  • 原材料名 (genzairyoumei) - ingredients
  • 内容量 (naiyouryou) - product amount (i.e. weight/quantity) 
  • 保存方法 (hozon houhou) - storage instructions
  • 使用上の注意 (shiyoujyou no chyuuii) - storage details (this is not always available for products)
  • 製造者 (seizousha) - manufacturer information 
ANSWER:

Japanese nutritional information label: 

  • Calories: 344 kcal
  • Protein: 14.0 g
  • Total Fat: 2.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 66.7 g 
  • Sodium: 2.2 g (or 220 mg)

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