Cultural Influence Of The Meiji Era On Japanese Food Culture

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In producing an anthropological account of my chosen meal event, which is my experience of dining at the ‘Meiji’ restaurant in Osaka, I will use a mixed-theoretical approach which is influenced by Mintz’s (1985) Sweetness and Power to show how material conditions and symbolic representations of food are interrelated. Firstly, I will look at the historical influence of the Meiji Era on Japanese food culture (Anderson 2005; Hiroko 2008). I will then look at gender in Japanese food culture, specifically how masculinity is associated with fish markets and sushi preparation, and how these culturally engrained gender roles correlate with my observations and experience at the restaurant (Corson 2009; Bestor 2004; Holden 2005). Finally I will discuss the biocultural complexity of food preferences, followed by an analysis of how food is related to identity formation and highly symbolic, and whether this symbolic meaning presupposes food preferences created by materialist conditions (Fischler 1988; Rappoport 2003; Harris 1985; Levi-Strauss 1963). The most memorable meal event I have experienced occurred over a two week period at a restaurant in Osaka called ‘Meiji’. In early 2012 my partner and I visited Osaka for just over two weeks, choosing our vacation destination based on mutual appreciation for Japanese cuisine and ‘onsen’, Japanese bath. On our third night in Osaka we were wandering down one of the many brightly lit alleyways, which were bustling with energy and movement at
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