In southwestern Okinawa, local residents are reinvigorating their culinary heritage through a clam restoration project that began in 2009. The clams—giant clams, locally known as geera—have declined recently due to overharvesting on the reef. This article examines intersecting notions of heritage and community by contrasting the clam mariculture project with other heritage foods. The clams do not fit within prevalent images of Okinawan foods as nutritious and multicultural, and they are not among the Okinawan tastes that are celebrated outside of Okinawa. For islanders, the clams encapsulate place through their actual taste, the way they are acquired, and the social landscape of their consumption. Amidst the increasing influx of mainlanders in Okinawa, the clams become symbols that distinguish native islanders from newcomers.
Skip Nav Destination
Research Article| August 01 2017
Beyond Merroir: The Okinawan Taste for Clams
C. Anne Claus
C. Anne Claus
C. Anne Claus is an environmental anthropologist and Assistant Professor at American University. Anne takes an ethnographic approach to researching international conservation and food production in marine environments. She has also published research on the socioeconomic impacts of environmental policies on coastal communities, the political ecology of disasters, and conservation social science. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Japan, Brazil, and Mozambique.
Search for other works by this author on:
Gastronomica (2017) 17 (3): 49–57.
C. Anne Claus; Beyond Merroir: The Okinawan Taste for Clams. Gastronomica 1 August 2017; 17 (3): 49–57. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2017.17.3.49
Download citation file:
Don't already have an account? Register
You could not be signed in. Please check your email address / username and password and try again.
Could not validate captcha. Please try again.