SOAS University of London

Japan Research Centre

Washoku on the World Stage: Japanese Traditional Cuisine as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

​Theodore ​Bestor (Professor of Social Anthropology Director, Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies Harvard University)

Date: 1 October 2014Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 1 October 2014Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Khalili Lecture Theatre

Type of Event: Lecture

Washoku on the World Stage

In December 2013, UNESCO added washoku, traditional Japanese cuisine, to the register of Intangible Cultural Heritage, signaling that it is a culinary tradition of global significance.  Only a handful of other culinary traditions or singular dishes have previously received such recognition from UNESCO, and the Japanese government as well as prominent chefs and others had pursued a long campaign to ensure that Japanese cuisine would be included on this list.  This lecture will examine the domestic conceptions of what constitutes washoku as well as the concerted efforts to promote it on a world stage.

Theodore C. Bestor
Speaker Biography

Theodore C. Bestor is Reischauer Institute Professor of Social Anthropology, and the Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University. He was President of the Association for Asian Studies (AS) during 2012-13.  Bestor’s third book, Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World (Univ. of California Press, 2004; published in Japanese in 2007) is an ethnographic study of Tokyo's vast Tsukiji wholesale market, the world's largest marketplace for seafood and the center of Japan's sushi trade.  His current research examines the global popularity of Japanese food, and the recent UNESCO designation of washoku (traditional Japanese cuisine) as a Global Cultural Heritage item.  During the Autumn, 2014, Bestor is a visiting scholar at the Nissan Institute of Japanese Studies, St. Antony’s College, Oxford.

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JRC - Meiji Jingu Autumn Lecture - Audio

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