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History at the Dining Table: Postwar Instant Ramen

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Chapter Summary

Although the roots of noodle soup, or ramen, run deep and wide in very early Chinese and Japanese history, instant ramen is inherently a postwar Japanese phenomenon. It belongs to a cuisine of the masses, a food that is part of the unstructured, egalitarian postwar Japanese society. To understand how ramen revived in postwar Japanese society, this chapter briefly describes Kitakata and its ramen boom of the late 1960s and early 1970s. It discusses where history, tourism, transportation and local taste all merge in a culinary consensus supporting the re-emergence of ramen as a sign of Japan's postwar success. Today's ramen has evolved into something more - a symbol of Japan's food culture in general and Japanese foodways specifically.

Keywords:food culture; instant ramen; Japan; Kitakata; postwar changes



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