chapter  22
13 Pages

Cuisine and identity in contemporary Japan

ByTheodore C. Bestor

Food is all around us, yet remarkably elusive for something seemingly so concrete and mundane. People grow it, buy it, prepare it, eat it, savor it (or not) every day, everywhere, often without much thought about food’s signifi cance in any larger social, cultural, or historical schemes. But food is profoundly embedded in these frameworks, and food culture ( shoku bunka ) is a key concept for understanding the day-to-day foodways of Japanese society, as well as the larger contexts of identity that food and foodways refl ect and create, some of them not much remarked upon, some of them quite prominently on display in everyday life.