2014 Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration
LIB 100 & 201 Approved
Bread-Loving Japan: Changes Across the 20th Century
Jason Herlands, assistant professor of Japanese, Modern Languages and Literatures
Japan is thought of, not inaccurately, as a rice consuming country. Indeed, the term for meal, "gohan," also means “cooked rice.” Many Japanese claim that foods consumed without a staple bowl of rice serve only as mere snacks. With the introduction of the school lunch program in 1954, bread began to proliferate as an alternate staple to rice, not as a luxurious, foreign-inflected food. Since then, agricultural agencies and cultural commentators have demonstrated profound anxiety about shifts away from rice consumption.
This presentation will examine those anxieties by discussing U.S. involvement in financing the spread of wheat products in Japan and considering the cultural ramifications of that history.