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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at ICU Japan chapter.

Veganism has been quite the trend recently, with more and more influencers practicing it. However, I have found that many people are still confused between vegetarianism and veganism and mix the two terms or even think it is the same thing. 

Being a vegetarian, I often have to clarify the difference between the two and stress that both veganism and vegetarianism are two separate terms, especially in Japan, where being either vegetarian or a vegan is still not as popular as it is in the west. 

With that said, in this article, I will clarify the differences between the two. 

Firstly, a person who is a vegetarian abstains from the consumption of meat from the diet, which sometimes includes the by-products from animal slaughter. Not eating meat also includes not eating any poultry, fish, shellfish, and for some, eggs. A typical vegetarian diet consists of fruits, vegetables, plenty of grain, nuts, beans, and seeds. There are subcategories of vegetarianism, such as Lacto-ovo vegetarians, Lactose vegetarians, and more. 

On the other hand, veganism stems from a branch of vegetarianism and arguably the strictest form of vegetarians. A person who is vegan practices it by removing all forms of animal product and animal cruelty as much as possible. A vegan diet excludes animal flesh, but it also excludes animal dairy, eggs, honey, gelatin, and more. As you can see, all of the items have some sort of connection to animals and are therefore excluded from vegan diets. 

The reasons for having either a vegetarian or a vegan diet vary for each person. Some have picked up a vegetarian diet for religious purposes, and for others, it might be due to their ethics or because of the environment. 

To summarize, vegetarians are against killing animals for food and consuming animal meat but accept consuming animal by-products such as milk. Whereas vegans believe animals have their free rights and avoid all sorts of animal products, whether it is meat, clothing, or entertainment. 

Maanya Choudhary

ICU Japan '24

Hi I'm Maanya, currently studying Media Communication and Culture at ICU. I'm from India but I've lived in Japan my entire life. I love reading and writing!