Curry has, like many dishes that have traversed the globe, a storied past. Its origins are undisputed – South Asian, obviously – but its journeys away from home are more colourful and varied. While curry has been transported to other cultures via Indian traders and immigrants, Japan received curry through the British, specifically British-made curry powder.
Yes, curry powder is most likely a British invention. From the time it was introduced to the Japanese in the mid-nineteenth century, it has undergone many reinventions. Japanese curry today is a dish that is uniquely, well, Japanese. It is starchy, creamy and sweet, and has been elevated to the status of a national food.