Why are Japanese rice cookers so expensive?

Why are Japanese rice cookers so expensive? As long as students going to Japan for travel, work or study will be posted by their friends with a purchasing list. the list usually includes electronic products, cosmeceuticals, cosmetics, and some local “specialties.” More and more People started suggesting buying a local rice cooker. When asked why, people usually say “good quality,” “multiple functions,” “boiled rice is more fragrant,” etc. There is a feeling that if you don’t buy it, you will regret it for the rest of your life.

Japanese rice cooker price
Japanese rice cooker price

Whether it is on e-commerce websites such as Rakuten, Amazon Japan, or local physical stores in Japan. We can also find that these rice cookers sold in Japan are very expensive. The price of mainstream rice cookers is around RMB 5,000. The cost of high-end rice cookers is Even if the price is more than 10,000 yuan. When seeing the price tag, everyone will repeatedly confirm whether they have read the decimal point wrong. So why are rice cookers that do not seem to have many technical contents so expensive in Japan? Are they really genuine or black hearts? Are merchants deliberately raising prices to make huge profits?
High-tech content determines high value

Higher technology content

Rice cookers are not products with ultra-high profit margins. Since Japanese rice cookers dare to sell so expensively, they must have their reasons. We all know that Japanese culture is deeply influenced by Chinese culture, and they also use rice as their staple food. Relying on the advantages of electronic technology in the 1950s. The Japanese Ibuka (he is also one of the founders of Sony) of the Tokyo Communication Engineering Company invented the world’s first rice cooker. In fact, Mitsubishi ten years earlier). Rice cooker products have also been launched, but they cannot be marketed in batches). Subsequently, with the improvement of electronic research and development technology, the rice cooker’s electric heating elements, temperature control, and timing devices have also been updated several times. Although the core functions are basically unchanged. The microprocessor chip in the rice cooker can realize program control of many cooking elements, such as temperature, firepower, time, heating mode, etc. The operation is also It is more worry-free. This time, the machine and innovation of the technology were first initiated by Japanese rice cooker manufacturers. Then other national brands began to gradually get closer. Therefore, in the same era, Japanese rice cookers are basically ahead of similar products in other countries, so the price will naturally be higher. Of course, for the Japanese who want to strive for excellence in everything, the rice cooker, which seems to have a single function and is familiar to the public, also has a high “re-creation” value.
With the large-scale application of smart chip technology, rice cookers will inevitably catch up with this trend. Many Japanese brand rice cookers are preset with many innovative modes, such as quick rice cooking, porridge cooking, steam control, cooking a variety of different things, etc. Users only need to choose various ways according to their actual cooking needs. For example, the “stirring cooking” setting can be used to make Japanese-style potato stew, beef stew, cream stew, and desserts such as fresh cream. “Lovely porridge” that produces smooth and sticky porridge, “Assorted (with rotation)” option that can make delicious mixed rice, etc. The preset modes can be found everywhere in more than 20 kinds of rice cookers. Such a rich cooking mode is among the domestic rice cookers. Almost invisible.
In addition to various preset cooking modes, these rice cookers are also equipped with many advanced technologies. Here we take the rice cooker model SR-SPX103 launched by Panasonic last year as an example. It was called the “highest technology rice cooker in history” first founded. It is equipped with IH technology. A heating plate or heating belt is designed at the bottom of the inner pot of traditional rice cookers. After the heating plate is heated by electricity, the heat is transferred to the inner pot. The heat will be lost, but the heating uniformity will also be affected. , Even if you ignore dripping water into the heating plate during use. It will also cause the rice cooker to malfunction because the quality and safety problems of the heating plate of the rice cooker occur from time to time. I believe that as long as users who have cooking experience will encounter this situation. The working principle of IH electromagnetic heating is to connect the alternating current through the electromagnetic coil to directly heat the metal liner. Which saves the heat conduction process of the heating plate, and the heating speed is faster. The surrounding heating of the gallbladder makes the heating more uniform. The IH rice cooker can also realize precise program control of the rice stewing process. And set different heating schemes according to the needs of each rice heating stage. Dramatically improving the taste and nutrition of the rice. IH technology is not particularly common for rice cookers in other countries. Still, it is already a fundamental and popular technology for Japanese rice cookers.
In addition, there is the “W-gear cooking” function, the core of which is the fusion of pressure variable technology and Panasonic’s IH control technology. According to the official introduction of Panasonic, the combination of these two exclusive technologies can increase the sweetness and stickiness of rice by improving the stirring effect of rice during cooking. It combines 6 levels of IH high heating mechanism and pressure variable technology that repeats 4 times pressure and pressure. Faithfully reproducing the ideal cooking method of “starting with a small fire and changing to a large fire in the middle” in the era of earth stove cooking, Can maximize the sweetness and aroma of rice. Even if it’s not brand-name, high-priced rice, it tastes more delicious. We only take some products as examples above. In addition to Panasonic, many other brands in the Japanese market have their own unique technologies and can achieve similar effects. Technology and steam brilliant suction and release technology. We rarely see similar functions on rice cookers in other countries, not even in advertisements.
Careful structural design and luxurious materials

Luxurious materials to create the perfect pot body

In the above, we mentioned the technology of Japanese brand rice cookers. In fact, this will not surprise everyone because advanced electronic technology has always been the most significant advantage of Japanese companies. Whether it is in the field of home appliances or automobiles. To cook delicious rice in a rice cooker and the continuous improvement in electronic technology, the internal structure design and the material of the inner pot are also essential. You can look at the materials of the rice cooker body you use. Ceramics, enamel, aluminum alloy, and stainless steel are the primary materials. The cost is relatively low, and the manufacturing process is more straightforward. But the Japanese are constantly trying to use newer materials to make rice more fragrant, more efficient in heating, and better in heat preservation and preservation.
Here we take the well-known brand Zojirushi as an example. Their pot body is called “Extreme Feather Pot,” which uses handmade methods to build the inner pot. It uses a feather pot and a double-layer inner lid. “Southern Ironware,” a traditional handicraft from Iwate Prefecture, Japan, is well-known in the ironware industry. And “Extreme Feather Pot” can heat the pot body from the wings of the inner pot through heat conduction. Effect. In addition, when the double-layer inner cover is kept warm, the double-layer surface will not let the moisture escape. Keeping the deliciousness of the rice in the inner pot. At the same time, the double-layered lid also locks in the heat and heats up faster. As we all know, the rice made with the iron pot is more delicious. The most important reason is that the heating efficiency of iron is high, and the heat conduction is insufficient. If the internal structure is improved, the temperature of the whole pot can be ensured to be as consistent as possible. Delicious rice can be made. . However, to buy this “extreme feather pot” also requires a lot of money. The price of Zojirushi’s rice cookers using Southern Iron is basically more than 8,000 yuan. Yes, you correctly read the number of zeros after the “8,” and the author’s hand did not tremble.

Meticulous internal structure design

Relying on the material alone is not enough. Cooking rice noodles with perfect taste also needs to optimize the internal structure. Here we take Hitachi as an example. Its proud work is to jointly develop a vacuum insulation container with a stainless steel double-layer structure “vacuum insulation layer” with THERMOS. This container uses vacuum insulation to form a unique heat-sealing structure to surround the inner tank. In the highest temperature mode, the excellent insulation performance of the vacuum interlayer can maintain a high temperature of more than 100 degrees until the rice is cooked for 26 minutes. In addition, Hitachi has also developed the “Steam CUT” function that prevents the steam from leaking out during cooking. The rice cooker can also imitate the taste of a pressure cooker. Hitachi’s official data shows that the rice temperature in the PZ-W2000K can still be kept above 50 degrees after 6 hours of storage. There’s a “big ticket” waiting for you and a lot less credit going forward).
As described above, each brand has its own unique structural design. Let’s talk about Sharp again. Although Sharp is more concerned about its LCD technology and LCD TV manufacturing. In fact, Sharp has also launched a lot of home appliances, such as rice cookers, etc. Still, many of them are not sold in the Chinese market. The Sharp rice cooker has the function of washing rice. Its most well-known design uses the principle of oblique swimming of fish in the sea to reduce resistance. Adjust the angle of the stirring rod to incline 30 degrees inside to reduce the friction between the rice and the inner pot. Equipped with a water temperature sensor and a load sensor. The rice-washing stirrer’s rotation speed and running time can be adjusted according to the different amounts of water in the season. This function aims to make the washed rice more delicate and more nutritious than washing rice by hand. In addition, some of Sharp’s high-end rice cookers also have a “rotating unit.” which can not only stir at 150 to 200 revolutions per minute for efficient rice washing. And promote water absorption but also rotate at 400 to 500 revolutions per minute during rice cooking (when the “rotary unit” is in the pot). It prevents the “rice soup” (the sticky aroma component) from overflowing with the steam. I believe we can hardly see such products in the Chinese market. These technologies are also the “culprits” that Japanese rice cookers dare to sell at high prices.

Japanese brand rice cookers and domestic rice cookers

Although we have introduced many designs and technical content related to Japanese rice cookers above, we have only presented a small part. There are more high-level (qi) (pa) functions for consumers. Surprise. When I see this, I believe that many readers will have such questions: These technologies look dazzling, but do they really improve the taste of rice? Do we really need to buy such a product with a sufficient budget? In fact, in terms of the taste of cooking rice, they have been recognized and loved by many Chinese users, which is why so many people come back with rice cookers when they go to Japan. If you don’t believe it, you can go to the airport for international flights. Observation near the arrival hall of the station building.
Here we have to distinguish a concept: the difference between Japanese brand rice cookers and Japanese domestic rice cooker products. It is well known that many excellent Japanese products are only sold locally, and the same is valid for rice cookers. Many Japanese rice cookers sold in China are actually “overseas versions.” The rice cookers sold in Japan far exceed those in China in terms of product quantity and single product price. Outside of the brand, it can be said that there is nothing in common, and the materials used, product functions, and cooking effects are naturally entirely different. In terms of brands, Panasonic, Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric, Sanyo Electric, Tiger, Zojirushi, Sharp, Baotian Industries, etc., have absolute advantages. There are many small brands in the Japanese market, and even Muji has passed the generation. Introduced its own rice cooker (but only in Japan).
As can be seen from the above, it can be said that for the rice cooker products that many people do not pay much attention to, the Japanese can be said to have armed them to the teeth. You can say that the Japanese pay attention to excellence in doing things. Or you can say that Japan has a lot of foodies and does not hesitate to do anything. It is expensive to improve things related to eating. Still, it is undeniable that although these products are costly, they are far higher than our everyday rice cooker products in terms of materials, craftsmanship, and technology. Therefore, Japanese rice cookers are indeed perfect in terms of products alone. If you are on a budget, buying these rice cookers will naturally improve your quality of life. However, domestic brand rice cooker products have also made significant progress in recent years. Although they are not as extreme as the former. The advantage of these brands is that there will be special considerations for the overall quality of domestic rice, and the actually cooked rice is on the taste. Not bad.

Things you should pay attention to before buying a Japanese rice cooker.

Before buying a Japanese rice cooker, you still need to pay attention to some essential matters: the first is the voltage problem. The standard voltage in Japan is 110V, while in China, it is 220V. If the rated voltage marked on the rice cooker is 110V, it must be connected to a transformer when used in China. Otherwise, the high-end rice cooker costing more than 5,000 RMB will be scrapped. Fortunately, we have seen that the working voltage of some Japanese rice cookers has begun to support 110V to 240V. And such rice cookers can be used directly in China. In addition, due to the long distance, if the rice cooker bought from Japan has quality problems, it is challenging to provide after-sales service. Of course, if you bring it to Japan, you can enjoy after-sales service, but it is very inconvenient. You also need to carefully consider before purchasing. . Finally, because they are products for the Japanese market, these rice cookers do not have Chinese instruction manuals. Although there are some Chinese characters in Japanese, it does not mean that everyone can completely and accurately grasp its use method without knowing Japanese. There is a particular risk of operational error.
The sushi is sold in traditional restaurants, and the rice part is not cooked with a rice cooker to ensure the taste.

sushi cooker
sushi cooker?

In addition, for rice cookers, although the Japanese who pursue the ultimate in detail have developed so many technologies to improve rice taste. They still seem to feel that it is not perfect. The most typical case is that the author found a very traditional store selling sushi (now made and sold). And the boss still used the most traditional stove instead of a rice cooker when cooking rice. His explanation is: to use a rice cooker for cooking rice. The taste of making sushi is still different from the traditional way. To provide customers with better taste, they did not use a more convenient way to cook rice. So the megumi sushi we tasted at that time tasted quite good. About 600 yuan for 7 pieces of sushi. Even if it doesn’t taste good, I will say it is delicious… Coupled with the lousy adjective used by significant food shows: “melt in the mouth”). It can also be explained that rice cooker cooking will be further improved. Space.

Megumi Japanese Ramen & Sushi Bar
Compared with the spirit of developing and improving a product so seriously in neighboring countries, we still have a lot to learn. It is advanced technology or a rigorous, serious, and down-to-earth attitude. Our purpose is not to raise people’s morale but to use the method in Mr. Lu Xun’s “Bringing Doctrine” to recognize our own shortcomings, absorb the advantages of others as much as possible, and eliminate the trash. Our own products and brands have done better and won the respect of consumers worldwide.

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