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Global Japanese Cuisine Project: Culinary Mobilities and Urban Place Making (2018- ) 

Lead Investigator: James Farrer (*4066;

ICC members: James Farrer, David Wank, Chris Hess

ICC Collaborative Researcher: Chuanfei Wang

ICC Collaborative Researcher: Lenka Vyletalova

External Collaborators (Sophia): Monica R. de Carvalho (GPGS PhD Candidate), Mariko Iijima (Faculty of Foreign Studies, Associate Professor)

External Collaborators (Non-Sophia): Krishnendu Ray (NYU, Assoc. Professor, Chair of Food Studies program)


Goals of Project:

This project studies Japanese culinary globalization inside and outside of Japan and involves collaboration among the team members producing online and traditional print publications. We have been largely funded by external grants, as outlined below, and request from the ICC support the publication of the results of this research and new grant proposals.

  1. The ongoing ICC project supports the publication of the results of two externally funded research projects: (1) Farrer’s project (supported by JSPS) consists of a study of artisanal food production and business-based community building in a Tokyo neighborhood (an area of Suginami district) and a Shanghai neighborhood (an area of Luwan District). (2) Vyletalova, Carvahlo, Wank, Hess, Farrer and Wang are investigating the globalization of Japanese culinary labor in Europe, Latin America, Asia and North America, as part of the Japanese Global Cuisines Project funded by Sophia University from 2015-18.  The ICC grant supports the publication and publicity of these efforts, both of which aim to be finished in 2020.

  2. We are developing a new project on comparative research on culinary mobilities. We are developing grant proposals and organizing a conference with this theme. This research builds directly on our current project but expands it in a more theoretical and comparative direction by looking at multiple culinary systems in multiple world regions. This will be a collaborative project with New York University Food Studies.

  3. Public activities planned at the ICC in 2019:

    1. We plan ongoing speakers at the ICC around the theme of food studies. We have identified several speakers who plan to be in the Tokyo area in 2020.

    2. We plan to develop a conference proposal on “Culinary Counter-Hegemonies and Global Culinary Mobilities.” This conference will be organized together with Prof. Krishnendu Ray, New York University.


Intellectual Questions and Methods

We have two theoretical focuses: culinary mobilities and culinary place making.

  1. (Our project uses the term culinary mobilities to describe the organization of contemporary Japanese cuisine as a constantly shifting configuration of producers, consumers, suppliers, and products centered in global culinary cities and their accompanying networks. One of the central questions here is the role of migrant labor in the making of cuisine.

  2. The second concept is culinary place making. While the social organization of culinary fields is increasingly characterized by mobility, foodways remain tied (paradoxically perhaps) to ideas place. Cities, regions and nations are defined through foodways, and consciously use culinary politics and cuisine as a development strategy.

  3. Data gathered for the ongoing and developing projects include interviews, ethnographic observations and digital mapping data. The ICC grant would support the ongoing publication of the results of these research activities in an online digital format, in publication of the monograph and development of the next research grant proposal (JSPS grant and UK–Japan social sciences, arts and humanities connections grant).

Project Web pages


  • The Global Japanese Restaurant: Mobilities, Imaginaries and Politics (University of Hawai’i Press 2023)

Online Publication

​Preveous Research Units related to this project

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