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Reading Food in Modern Japanese Literature$
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Tomoko Aoyama

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780824832858

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824832858.001.0001

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The Gastronomic Novel

The Gastronomic Novel

Chapter:
(p.131) Chapter Five The Gastronomic Novel
Source:
Reading Food in Modern Japanese Literature
Author(s):

Tomoko Aoyama

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824832858.003.0006

This chapter looks at a number of texts, mainly fictional, in which the quest for gastronomic gratification is a dominant theme. The existence of such literature had long been completely overlooked; it is only in the last few decades that both contemporary and earlier, long-forgotten “gourmet novels” have attracted some attention. What is evident here, particularly in prewar stories of this type, is the tendency to subvert the “mainstream” shishōsetsu and to present a variety of alternatives. Postwar examples, on the other hand, either advocate or resist the democratization and popularization of the gastronomic quest. Like cannibalism, the gastronomic quest as a literary theme is deeply implicated with cultural identity, and a certain textual cannibalism is also evident.

Keywords:   gastronomic quest, gourmet novels, Japanese literature, cultural identity, cannibalism

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