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27 Dec 2003
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I just watched an NHK World episode called “Sprititual Explorers.” You can watch this episode online at this link.

The episode explores the meaning of “itadakimasu.” Here are some meanings explored in the episode.

1. “I receive this food with deep humility.”

2. “All things and all food come from the gods, and I thank the gods for this food. ”

3. “This fish gave up its life for me, and for this I am truly grateful. ”


12 Oct 2004
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I can't help but feel this is overly mysticizing things a bit. In the modern Japanese culture and language "itadakimasu" is a stock phrase, and I can guarantee you that the average Japanese person is not thinking these deeply humble and profound thoughts when they say "itadakimasu" (any more than your co-worker who says "otsukaresama desu" is thinking "I see and recognize that you are exerting yourself physically and emotionally on behalf of our company").

There's certainly a general sense of being appreciative of the food and those who provided it (your parents if they bought it, the restaurant you're eating at, the animal, nature itself, etc. etc.) built into the phrase, and I've always liked that sentiment (being able to eat is something we should be grateful for as human beings, after all), but such grandiose and exaggerated "translations" veer a bit too much into the realism of "Orientalism" and exoticism for my liking.
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