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Sophia Food Studies: Mobilities, Sustainability and Ethics (2023-

Students preparing sustainable garden 1.jpg


ICC members (Sophia University): James Farrer, Takeshi Ito, John Williams, Akiko Frischhut
ICC Collaborative Researchers: David Wank (Oriental Library Tokyo and professor emeritus Sophia University), Chuanfei Wang (Hosei University), Mariko Iijima (Sophia University), Monica R. Carvalho (SKEMA Business School), Lenka Vyletalova (Palacky University Olomouc)

External workshop participants: Greg De St. Maurice (Keio University), Jun Akamine (Hitotsubashi University), Shoko Imai (Tokyo University of Agriculture)

Student workshop participants (Sophia University): Cloé Pipa-Despres, Nico Rallonza, María Alejandra Dorado Vinay, Nagiko Shimooka

(As of April 2024)

Goals of Project: Building Food Studies at Sophia

We aim to develop food studies as a field of inquiry and academic exchange at Sophia University with three empirical and theoretical keywords: mobilities, sustainability and ethics.

(1) Our project uses the term culinary mobilities to describe the organization of the food system as a constantly shifting configuration of producers, consumers, suppliers, and products. One of the central questions we have is the role of migrant labor in the making of cuisine around the world. We have been working on this question for several years in our predecessor “Global Japanese Cuisine Project.”

(2) The second concept is sustainable foodways. Sustainability is an important keyword in food studies and encompasses environmental, social, and economic dimensions. Climate change is a key issue impacting sustainable foodways and would be one issue running through our discussions.

(3) We are also interested in developing a philosophical approach to food studies with an emphasis on food ethics. We are also considering issues surrounding the ontology of taste and how taste relates to the other topics we are considering in food studies.

Predecessor Project: Global Japanese Food Project

This new project builds upon the success of a previous Global Japanese Food Project with a new membership and new foci. Results from that project can be seen here:












Project Web pages


Global Japanese Cuisine Project



The Future of the Restaurant Lecture Series


Books Supported by the ICC:


The Global Japanese Restaurant: Mobilities, Politics and Imaginaries (2023)


Globalization, Food and Social Identities in the Asia Pacific Region(reissued 2021)


The Globalization of Asian Cuisines: Transnational Networks and Culinary Contact Zones (2015)


Awards for Global Japanese Food Project:


(1) Awarded the “Best Paper Award for Asian Anthropology 2021” (James Farrer and Chuanfei Wang. 2021. “Who Owns a Cuisine? The Grassroots Politics of Japanese Food in EuropeAsian Anthropology 20(1):12-29.)


(2) The Nishiogiology project was recognized by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs as an "exemplar of utilizing knowledge of Japanese food culture" (食文化「知の活用」振興事例).

Photos used in this page (from top to bottom)

  • Sophia Sustainable Farm at Building 10 on Sophia University Yotsuya Campus (photo by Takeshi Ito) 

  • Students preparing the garden bed for planting at the Sophia Sustainable Farm (photo by Takeshi Ito) 

  • Cattle are raised for Ishigaki beef production on Kohama Island, Okinawa (photo by James Farrer) 

  • Chef Fanny serves up classic French appetizers in Cocotte Cuisine in Jiyugaoka, Tokyo (photo by James Farrer) 

  • A portable izakaya took part in the anti-redevelopment protest in Nishi-Ogikubo, Tokyo (photo by James Farrer) 

  • A barista prepares a matcha latte in Saten, a Nishi-Ogikubo café (photo by James Farrer) 

  • Takada Shōten is a prominent greengrocer (yaoya) in Nishi-Ogikubo (photo by James Farrer) 

  • Chef Otogon serves up boiled calves head a Mongolian specialty in restaurant Aral in Akabane, Tokyo (photo by James Farrer) 

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