Devouring Japan: Global Perspectives on Japanese Culinary Identity (Hardback)
  • Devouring Japan: Global Perspectives on Japanese Culinary Identity (Hardback)
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Devouring Japan: Global Perspectives on Japanese Culinary Identity (Hardback)

(editor)
£71.00
Hardback 370 Pages / Published: 05/07/2018
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In recent years Japan's cuisine, or washoku, has been eclipsing that of France as the world's most desirable food. UNESCO recognized washoku as an intangible cultural treasure in 2013 and Tokyo boasts more Michelin-starred restaurants than Paris and New York combined. International enthusiasm for Japanese food is not limited to haute cuisine; it also encompasses comfort foods like ramen, which has reached cult status in the U.S. and many world capitals. Together with anime, pop music, fashion, and cute goods, cuisine is part of the "Cool Japan" brand that promotes the country as a new kind of cultural superpower. This collection of essays offers original insights into many different aspects of Japanese culinary history and practice, from the evolution and characteristics of particular foodstuffs to their representation in literature and film, to the role of foods in individual, regional, and national identity. It features contributions by both noted Japan specialists and experts in food history. The authors collectively pose the question "what is washoku?" What culinary values are imposed or implied by this term? Which elements of Japanese cuisine are most visible in the global gourmet landscape and why? Essays from a variety of disciplinary perspectives interrogate how foodways have come to represent aspects of a "unique" Japanese identity and are infused with official and unofficial ideologies. They reveal how Japanese culinary values and choices, past and present, reflect beliefs about gender, class, and race; how they are represented in mass media; and how they are interpreted by state and non-state actors, at home and abroad. They examine the thoughts, actions, and motives of those who produce, consume, promote, and represent Japanese foods.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780190240400
Number of pages: 370
Weight: 650 g
Dimensions: 238 x 162 x 25 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Devouring Japan offers radical new insights into the complex and fascinating world of Japanese food. It is a timely reminder of how important the paradoxical Japanese model of simplicity along with media celebrity has become to the new post-Francophone gastronomy. It is peppered with insightful chapters on the propaganda value of umami and washoku that allowed Japanese cuisine to enter the great council of good taste in a new global hierarchy. A much needed intervention in the politics and poetics of good taste in the 21st century."--Krishnendu Ray, author of The Ethnic Restaurateur


"This volume contains a world of wisdom about Japanese food from scholars of literature, history, and social sciences. Its strength lies in the geographical and cultural diversity of its writers and themes and its importance is in setting Japanese food in multiple frames of meaning--not only as it has been 'inscribed' with national, spiritual, cultural, and aesthetic value but also as it has been, more importantly for its global audiences, given worth and value in food trucks, in street stalls, and in outlier interpreters of its essences. Far from the sanctity of culinary gods and 'authenticity' altars, the book encourages us to slurp and chew--and learn."--Merry White, author of Coffee Life in Japan


"A lavish panoply of predominantly modern Japanese food culture. Interdisciplinary in approach, it is a quick read for a volume of its size...and the chapters are uniformly well-written...A valuable resource to foodways scholars. As the subtitle suggests, the book speaks to greater issues of Japanese identity, nationalism, and globalization."--Choice


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