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Kyoto Vegetables, Uji Tea, Natori Seri: Food Producers and Place Branding in Contemporary Japan

Greg de St. Maurice 


Date: Jan. 19, 2024

Time: 18:00-19:30 (JST)

Venue: 10-301 

Format: In-person only 

Registration: Not necessary

In Japan today, people commonly talk about the relationship between place and food products in terms of “place brands” (chiiki burando). This talk examines their proliferation, attending to interaction between different kinds of place brands and the decisions that producers make about affiliating with existing place brands. Based on iterative fieldwork, I show that while the proliferation and variety of place brands in Japan today allows for a level of inclusivity and can support local producers, it can also erase the work of individual producers. Consequently, some producers who have helped create meaningful place brands for their areas are turning to individual marketing and sales strategies. Rather than view these approaches as conflicting or divergent, however, I argue that they can be symbiotic and mutually beneficial. 


Greg de St. Maurice is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Business and Commerce at Keio University. He received his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and holds master’s degrees from the University of Oxford, American University, and Ritsumeikan University. His key research interests include globalization, taste, “place” and place brands, craft, local foodways. His research has appeared in Gastronomica, Food, Culture, and Society, Japanese Studies and edited book volumes. Current projects study the proliferation of place brands for food and agricultural products in Japan, examine the transcultural transmission of culinary skills and knowledge, and consider cuisine as craft. 


This talk is organized by James Farrer (Professor of Sociology, Sophia University) for ICC Collaborative Research Unit “Sophia Food Studies: Mobilities, Sustainability and Ethics”. 

Image: Kintoki Ninjin - Kyoto carrots by titanium22 from Nishiki Ichiba in Kyoto via Wikipedia


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