In December 2013, washoku was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list of the United Nations, and Japanese cuisine was thereby acknowledged as a social practice that provides the Japanese people with a sense of identity. Starting from this perception of Japanese cuisine, this introduction shows that food not only contributes to a person’s identity and communicates a sense of social belonging but that it is also productive in the construction of local and national identities. The construction, reconstruction, assertion and promotion of a ‘national cuisine’ in Japan reach beyond the aims of tourism and trade and are easily applied as a soft power instrument in the hands of those fostering nationalism. The narrative of a ‘pure’, natural, authentic and timeless cuisine, as it will be argued, successfully shaped a Japanese national-cultural identity, which centred on the ideas of homogeneity and uniqueness. Finally, this introduction will also map the scope of the contributions collected in this volume; arguing that national cuisine ‘happens’ at the intersection of a diverse set of academic approaches and research areas.
|Title of host publication||Feeding Japan : The Cultural and Political Issues of Dependency and Risk|
|Number of pages||16|
|Place of Publication||Cham|
|Publication date||22 Aug 2017|
|Publication status||Published - 22 Aug 2017|