Food in the Diary
Food in the Diary
This chapter examines food and eating in “literary” diaries. It begins with the diaries of Masaoka Shiki, whose appetite caused problems but at the same time signaled his will to live. Similarly, hunger in Hayashi Fumiko's text indicates not only the difficulties of the young woman narrator but also her strong desire and vitality. In Ibuse Masuji's Kuroi ame and Inoue Hisashi's Tōkyō sebun rōzu hunger occurs on a national scale. The diary form was used in these novels about the war and its aftermath in order to attempt a detailed record of the everyday lives of ordinary people under extraordinary and devastating circumstances. The chapter also shows that the diary may conceal some facts, or reveal facts that its writer does not know. The obsession for inscription evidenced in many of the diaries discussed seems to consist of a variety of motives—to prove that one is still alive, to satisfy artistic aspirations, to leave a record for future generations, or to defend the very means of writing itself. In all of these texts, food functions both as a pleasure that brings people together and as a cause of conflict, struggle, compromise, oppression, manipulation, and corruption. Each of the diaries discussed also shows the connection between food and gender.
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