How did nutritional knowledge transform people’s perception of food and dietary life in 1870s’ Japan?
Author: Jing Sun
Jing Sun is a PhD candidate in modern Japanese history at University of Pennsylvania and is currently based in Tokyo as researcher at the at the Death & Life Studies and Practical Ethics Research Center, The University of Tokyo. Her current (dissertation) research focuses on the development of nutrition science and its socio-economic consequences. In her dissertation titled “Eating by Numbers: Nutrition, Health and the Political Economy of Food in Modern Japan, 1880-1945,” she explores the making of quantitative dietary standards and its impact on individual health consciousness and state food and nutrition policy making in Japan. She also looks comparatively at rationality and efficiency as goals of the application of scientific knowledge in the modern world. Her long-term research goal is to rethink our understanding of the modern experience by examining people’s dietary behaviors and preferences from socio-economic perspectives in Japan and the world.
Calories: The measure of nurture
The date was October 28, 1935. The night could have been peaceful and relaxing for 26-year-old Fukuda Katsu living in Tokyo if her husband did not complain about dinner. After quibbling about her cooking of rice, he rebuked Katsu for lack of knowledge: “You are too indifferent about calories.” His words were like a slap…
Rice in Bowls
It was the mixed rice again. Four months had passed since the Japanese soldiers of the First Regiment of Imperial Guard first saw such staple in November 1886. Instead of shining white rice, their bowls held some yellowish rice with barley kernels. They heard that soldiers in the Second and Third Regiment had the same…