See, this is what happens when you're reading a history of the post WWII occupation in Japan, are channel surfing on a lazy Sunday morning, and have read entirely too many Jungian psych books.
Of the 5 national channels this AM, 3 have food related programs. Consider, if at any one time, in the US, if CBS, FOX, and the CW were running Food Network style shows...
For the record, we've got a ramen making contest on one station, a review of Hawaiian restaurants on another, and the final channel has the standard "let's watch as B-list celebrities sit around and evaluate a multi-course meal. Course by course."
Japan just loves it's Food TV. It is the nation that brought you the Iron Chef. Tip of the iceberg, that.