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Chapter Summary

This history of ramen and East Asian cuisine and politics has given the lie to simplistic notions of national cuisine. There is a real belief in Japan that this has always been the case, an overarching idea that Japanese cuisine and tradition sets the Japanese apart and makes them Japanese. This book argues that cuisine defined Japan's modernity and relations with China. Japanese dietary habits have inflicted a heavy environmental cost in Southeast Asia, as well, where countries have dedicated their fishing industries to feeding the insatiable Japanese appetite. In the end, regardless of all the talk of international relations and Sino-Japanese culinary exchanges over the centuries, one thing should be clear - just by eating ramen you can digest history; the exercise can be nutritious and appetizing.

Keywords:appetite; archipelago; China; dietary habits; Japanese cuisine

10.1163/9789004220980_013
/content/books/b9789004220980s013
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