Any topic (writer’s choice)

Choose TWO question to answer.

1) In the Oishinbo manga and anime how are aesthetic taste and economic class connected (an possibly invested with nationalistic meaning). What commentary do the anime and manga make on this relationship? Please use at least two specific examples to discuss your answer.

2) Jir Dreams of Sushi presents both a rarified and humble approach to making food. In watching this film, what are the key set of values proposed for people’s relationship to food, as well as for Japanese cultural identity and proposed national values? Point to at least two specific scenes in your discussion.

3) Ramen is now an internationalized foodstuff like pizza or hamburgers. How does Tampopo use vignettes (small episodes not directly connected to the main narrative) to examine changing notions about the role food in culture? How is food shown to change normative notions of ‘ Japanese’ culture? Point to at least two specific scenes in your discussion.

4) Comment on the historical changes of food in Japan. How have contact with foreign cultures, economic growth, wartime destruction, and other macro-level factors changed perceptions and behavior toward food. Choose one specific food or dish an examine how it has changed in relation to historical conditions.

5) How has the industrialization of food shifted tastes and eating habits, both in Japan and internationally. How has industrialization changed the definition of traditional Japanese food? Examine at least two specific foods to make your point.

6) Exportation of Japanese food culture can be thought of as a form of soft power, possibly in response to Japan’s dependency on imported food supply in an attempt to create a trade balance. Discuss how the national promotion of washoku functions in terms of the global balance of food scarcity.

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