• Many Japanese Universities have “Curry Clubs” for connoisseurs and curry lovers
  • The Kyoto University Curry Club is the most famous and has been around for more than 10 years
  • Members of the club not only make and eat curry, but also live together and connect with other curry members across Japan

Mmm, I smell curry!  From tikka masala, korma, vindaloo, palak paneer, to everyone’s favorite butter chicken, Indian curry warms all of our hearts, fills us up, and gives us a little kick of spice when needed.  

Kyoto University Curry Club butter chicken curry
Butter Chicken Curry with naan. Image sourced from Macaro-ni.

As the scent of spices and grilled chicken or mutton fill the air, you see your plate of curry and fresh naan bread being brought over for you to feast. If you live in Japan, finding a go-to curry place is kind of like finding a go-to local pizza place in America, as each establishment serves up its own unique recipes. However, the real curry connoisseurs, who just can’t get enough of the stuff, make their own.  

What is the Kyoto University Curry Club?

Kyoto University Curry Club logo
Kyoto University Curry Club’s logo. Image sourced from @kyodai_currybu on Twitter.

Curry is Love, Love is Curry, That is Justice

Well, 25 students at Kyoto University in Japan are truly “real connoisseurs” of Indian curry.  Enter the “Kyoto University Curry Club” whose motto is “Curry is love, love is curry, that is justice.”  

Now, you may be wondering, “why on earth is there a curry club?”  The answer is, why not!  Wouldn’t you like to chow down on delicious curry with like-minded peers that are passionate about curry?  Wouldn’t you like to bake fresh naan bread in an actual tandoor?  

Kyoto University Curry Club members at an event.
Kyoto University Curry Club members at an event. Image sourced from hotpepper.jp

While the usual types of clubs you’d find at Japanese universities, like the rest of the world, are things like sports, music, dance, or even anime-related clubs, every now and then, students gather to form a pretty niche club, just like the Kyoto University Curry Club that was started 10 years ago.  

Still, you’re probably thinking “it’s just a small club of 25 people at one school.”  Here’s where you’re wrong.  Most of its members are actually part of the SCU, the Student Curry Union (of course) that spans across many Japanese universities and goes deeper than just being a single club for students to join.

What Kind of Things Does the Kyoto University Curry Club Do?

The Kyoto University Curry Club has Published Books

The Kyoto University Curry Club has actually published two books in the past.  The first was titled “Kyoto University Curry Club Spice Activities” and the latter, “Kyoto University Curry Club Secret Spice Curry Recipe.”

Connecting with other Club Members

On top of this, the Kyoto University Curry Club and the SCU both have group chats on apps like Line and Twitter.  The SCU one connects students across Japan.  Here, not only can they share information about the best Indian Curry restaurants all across Japan, share and come up with recipes, or let each other know where to buy authentic ingredients, they also coordinate housing in shared-homes so they can live together, and you guessed it, make and eat curry together.  

Kyoto University Curry Club eating together.
Kyoto University Curry Club members eat together. Image sourced from kotocollege.

In fact, one member of the club at Kyoto University said that he heard about the club even before applying to the school, and had already reached out in the group chat to secure a room in a house where the students had built a real tandoor, the kiln-like clay ovens used to bake naan bread and cook tandoori chicken.  He even recalls that it was a nice, sunny day when he officially joined the club on campus.  

I’m sure you can already guess how that student’s time at university as a member of the Curry Club has been going, but to reassure you, when asked about his experience living at the house, he said “we all have a good time making curry here.”  

Spice Pilgrimages and Catering

In the past, the club had also organized “spice pilgrimage” trips to India.  Moreover, they usually set up booths at school events and serve curry to people in attendance.  

Kyoto University Curry Club pork vindaloo
Mr. Oshima, a member of the Kyoto University Curry Club making his signature Okinawan-style pork vindaloo. Image sourced from dime.jp

More recently, a correspondent from Dime.jp visited one of the condos that a couple of club members live in.  At the time of their visit, Mr. Oshima, who decided to come to Kyoto University after reading “Kyoto University Curry Club Spice Activities,” was cheffing up an original Okinawan-style pork vindaloo fusion curry.  

Kyoto University Curry Club fusion pork vindaloo
Mr. Oshima’s Fusion Pork Vindaloo. Image sourced from dime.jp

As Mr. Oshima was busy preparing the curry sauce and flambéing pork belly, he didn’t have time to say too much.  His fusion curry dish did, however, look delicious.  

Would you join the club?  I know I would!  

Sources:

https://mainichi.jp/premier/business/articles/20210721/biz/00m/020/020000c

https://dime.jp/genre/1030643/