The myth of washoku: a twisted discourse on the “uniqueness” of national food heritages

Ryo Kohsaka

研究成果: Article査読

16 被引用数 (Scopus)


In 2013, Japan and Korea celebrated their first food culture registrations with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This paper first reviews the overall situation regarding washoku. Then, the washoku concept is analyzed and we argue that the idea is ambiguous. The washoku concept is contested and not necessarily clearly defined, but certain characteristics exist. The “uniqueness” is emphasized in the UNESCO registration while the reasoning or storyline for applications, such as relationships to nature, traditional preparations, community cohesion are “common” with other applications. The context of registration is frequently misinterpreted, and washoku has certain elements that are responsive to changes, despite its authentic and unchanged popular image. The ambiguity has both positive and negative aspects. It functions as a framework to enable groups with different interests or interpretations to participate in the process.

ジャーナルJournal of Ethnic Foods
出版ステータスPublished - 2017 6月

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 食品科学
  • 人類学


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