Food in East Asia presents a collection of articles that treat a wide variety of aspects related to food in contemporary East Asia. Cuisine is a very persuasive tool for delineating East Asia as a region. Food and foodways of Greater China, Japan and Korea obviously differ from one another, but they all rest upon the foundations of ancient Chinese civilization that once dominated this part of the world. The use of chopsticks and a widespread consumption of processed soybeans rank among the most vivid indicators of the common heritage of the Chinese, Japanese and Korean cuisines. Yet, the culinary cultures of contemporary East Asia are as much a product of the last hundred years as they are of the previous centuries. The crumbling of the ancient power structures within the region, brought about by the rise of Japan’s imperialist ambitions since the late nineteenth century onward, triggered dietary transformations that affected not only the East Asian populations, but have also exerted a strong impact on global foodways.
The selective readings collectively provide an insight into these transformations, focusing on the preparation and consumption of food. The articles are drawn from a variety of sources, covering a number of disciplines, the majority of which have been written in the past fifteen years. This selection offers up-to-date and high quality scholarship on food in East Asia and will be useful for scholars and students in the fields of area studies, sociology and anthropology, history and material culture studies.
Katarzyna J. Cwiertka is Professor of Modern Japan Studies at Leiden University. Her research to date has utilized food as a window into the modern history of Japan and Korea. Cwiertka is the author of Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food, Power and National Identity (Reaktion Books 2006) and Cuisine, Colonialism and Cold War: Food in Twentieth Century Korea (Reaktion Books, forthcoming in 2012). She has also edited two volumes with a larger geographical focus, including Asian Food: The Global and the Local (University of Hawai‘i Press 2002), and Food and War in Mid-Twentieth-Century East Asia (Ashgate, forthcoming in 2013).
Of interest to scholars of modern East Asia. Indispensable to anyone interested in global food history, and in particular the culinary transformations of Greater China, Korea and Japan.