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Japan's gastrodiplomacy as soft power: global washoku and national food security

  • Farina, Felice
  • Published : 2018.06.30

Abstract

Until recently, Japanese cuisine was known only for sushi and was still considered exotic outside the archipelago. However, today the number of specialized restaurants which serve other traditional foods is constantly increasing all over the world, making Japanese gastronomy one of the most influential. Japanese government has supported the promotion of national cuisine worldwide in different ways, making washoku (Japanese traditional cuisine) one of the main elements of Japan's soft power and cultural diplomacy. In this paper, I will analyse the connection between Japan's gastrodiplomacy, defined as the use of typical food and dishes as an instrument of soft power, and Japan's food security strategy. I will argue that the strategy of promotion of washoku worldwide is not a mere act of popularization of Japanese food but it is strictly related to the issue of the low self-sufficiency rate of the country, as the main objective of the government is the raise of food export, in order to foster agricultural production and improve self-sufficiency.

Keywords

Japan's gastrodiplomacy;washoku;soft power;food self-sufficiency;food export

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