In our 2010 Asian Foodprints conference – our second such event – we will focus on Japan and Japanese food. The aim of this event is to use Japanese food and its culinary traditions as windows to explore both continuities and change in Japanese society. From Sanrio’s global merchandising of Kogepan, to saturated television programming in Japan about cuisine, to the cultural economy of fish and rice, food makes up the very social, political, and economic fabric of Japan. The globalization of sushi and the syndication of the Iron Chef model worldwide are a testament to the popular reach of Japanese food. And the several academic treatments of Japanese cuisine and food more generally are proof of their scholarly intrigue. As such, this conference marries the popular with the academic. Indeed, as an important nexus between east and west, modern Japan has played a significant role in shaping global society, prompting ever more curiosity about the evolution of Japanese cuisine and food culture. In addition to a more “hands-on” perspective on Japanese food, the conference will feature three panel discussions about:
- Food and Social Identity;
- Practicing Japanese Food Culture;
- Food, Politics and Economy
The 2010 Asian Foodprints conference looks to build on the success of the inaugural event which featured Chinese and Hong Kong cuisine. That rendition was received with tremendous delight by the community and critics alike, as well as extraordinary academic acclaim by scholars of food and food culture. We expect Rediscovering Japan to be even better. The conference is hosted by the Asian Institute, Canada’s largest Asia-focused research and teaching centre, and the Dr. David Chu Program in Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Toronto. However, this conference is a collaborative endeavour, with contributions and support from the Departments of Sociology and East Asian Students, the Japan Foundation and the Japanese consulate in Toronto.