The Tastiest Dish in Edo: Print, Performance and Culinary Entertainment in Early-Modern Japan

in East Asian Publishing and Society
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Abstract

Japanese television has turned cooking into a competition, as exemplified by the show Iron Chef and its imitators. Readers in the early modern period could enjoy similar contests between famous restaurants and popular dishes as presented on one-page broadsheets called ‘topical fight cards’ (mitate banzuke). Tracing the history of mitate banzuke as they developed from kabuki and sumo banzuke, this article offers a close reading of one culinary banzuke published in the 1830s, examining how it borrowed the format and graphic presentation of sumo banzuke to turn a listing of ordinary seafood and vegetable side dishes into an entertaining culinary contest. Sushi, sashimi, and tempura, which are the modern hallmarks of traditional Japanese cuisine, scarcely appear on the culinary banzuke examined here, which spotlights the more frugal fare and dietary preferences of urban commoners and illuminates the ways that popular print culture made fun with food.

The Tastiest Dish in Edo: Print, Performance and Culinary Entertainment in Early-Modern Japan

in East Asian Publishing and Society

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References

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3

AokiKetteiban banzuke shūsei159.

4

Aoki‘Asobigokoro mansai no mitate banzuke no tōjō’323.

5

GerstleKabuki heroes on the Osaka stage 1780-183015.

10

KornickiThe book in Japan140.

11

Higashiyotsuyanagi‘The history of domestic cookbooks in Japan’ 130. The point that early-modern cookbooks were more intended for imagining elaborate meals than actually for preparing and eating them is made in Rath Food and fantasy in early modern Japan 112-81.

12

SenbaNenjū bansai roku302-3.

15

Cited in IshikawaShoku seikatsu to bunka161.

16

Ishikawa‘ “Okazu banzuke” ni miru Edo shomin no nichijō shoku’112.

20

See Akama‘Kabuki no shuppanbutsu (1): jōen shuppanbutsu’ 2. My translation of these terms derives from Kaguraoka ‘Osaka Kabuki fan clubs and their obsessions’35.

21

Kaguraoka‘Osaka Kabuki fan clubs and their obsessions’31.

24

KornickiThe book in Japan333 339 350-51.

25

AokiKetteiban banzuke shūsei20.

26

IshikawaŌedo banzuke zukushi32.

28

Ishikawa‘ “Okazu banzuke” ni miru Edo shomin no nichijō shoku’109.

29

KornickiThe book in Japan63 65.

30

AokiKetteiban banzuke shūsei12; Hayashi and Aoki Banzuke de yomu Edo jidai 47.

31

Aoki MichioKetteiban banzuke shūsei13 15.

32

KornickiThe book in Japan354-55.

33

Groemer‘Edo’s “Tin Pan Alley” ’16.

35

KernManga from the Floating World40; Miyoshi Edo seigyō bukka jiten 140 193 375.

38

Groemer‘Edo’s “Tin Pan Alley” ’15-16 19 28.

41

TachibanaEdo moji nyūmon51-52.

43

TachibanaEdo moji nyūmon24-25.

45

IshikawaŌedo banzuke zukushi6.

47

Takeuchi‘Chōri to jendā’133-35.

48

EharaNihon shokumotsushi184.

49

EharaNihon shokumotsushi218. Arizono contends that rice became the main staple in cities by the late nineteenth century Arizono Kinsei shomin no nichijō shoku 19. Ishikawa Naoko suggests an earlier date of the Bunka-Bunsei periods (1804-1830) Ishikawa ‘ “Okazu banzuke” ni miru Edo shomin no nichijō shoku’ 106.

50

ŌkuboEdokko wa nani o tabete ita ka12.

51

IshikawaShoku seikatsu to bunka16; Ōkubo Edokko wa nani o tabete ita 13.

52

ArizonoKinsei shomin no nichijō shoku113.

54

ŌkuboEdo no fāsuto fūdo120.

55

IshikawaShoku seikatsu to bunka16 26-27.

56

Miyauchi‘Inshokubutsu no shūshi keisan’244-45.

57

TakahashiEdo ajiwai zufu17-18.

58

Ishikawa‘ “Okazu banzuke” ni miru Edo shomin no nichijō shoku’113-14.

59

ŌkuboEdokko wa nani o tabete ita ka13 26.

61

SegawaShoku seikatsu no rekishi56.

62

KoizumiChabudai no Shōwa8-9.

66

ArizonoKinsei shomin no nichijō shoku113.

68

Miyauchi‘Inshokubutsu no shūshi keisan’256.

70

Cited in WatanabeEdo no onnatachi no gurume jijō90. Translated by Leutner in Shikitei Sanba and the comic tradition in Edo fiction 156-57.

71

Miyauchi‘Inshokubutsu no shūshi keisan’254.

80

HanagasaShiki tsukemono shio kagen252.

83

EharaNihon shokumotsushi139.

85

IshikawaŌedo banzuke zukushi115. For a description of shimon’ya see Suzuki Bakin no shokutaku 142-44.

89

TakahashiEdo ajiwai zufu51.

90

SenbaNenjū bansai roku328.

91

KanedaEdomae no sakana98.

94

Ishikawa‘“Okazu banzuke” ni miru Edo shomin no nichijō shoku’127.

96

Cited in WatanabeEdo no onnatachi no gurume jijō99.

102

ShikiteiUkiyoburo156.

103

SenbaNenjū bansai roku323.

108

IshikawaŌedo banzuke zukushi30; Nakada Ōedo nan de mo rankingu 163.

109

Ishikawa Naoko‘“Okazu banzuke” ni miru Edo shomin no nichijō shoku’127.

Figures

  • View in gallery
    Sumo program of economical everyday cooking methods (Nichiyō ken’yaku ryōri shikata sumō banzuke 日用儉約料理仕方角力番附), a mitate banzuke dedicated to food, printed around the 1830s.

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