After the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake, Tokyo rebuilt and extended its transportation infrastructure to bring the major areas for residence, business, and pleasure within walking distance, and that sparked a new genre of food writing, the Walker's Guide to Dining (tabearuki). First published in 1929, the year of the Great Depression, and continued up to the mid-1930s, the books by different authors that shared the title Walker's Guide documented affordable places to eat and new communities of restaurant customers, while pioneering new ways to write about food. Gaining particular attention in these books for their inexpensive and varied menus and their mixed gender clientele were trending restaurants called shokudō, a term that referred both to diners and dining halls in department stores. The Walker's Guides and the diner / dining hall can be called technologies of taste for the way they assembled diverse culinary experiences and made them legible for a mass market.
Technologies of Taste: Restaurant Guides, Diners, and Dining Halls in Interwar Tokyo
Eric C. Rath is Professor of History at the University of Kansas, where he teaches courses on food history and premodern Japan. A specialist in Japanese food, his books include Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan (University of California Press, 2010), Japan's Cuisines: Food, Place and Identity (Reaktion Books, 2016), and the forthcoming Oishii: The History of Sushi (Reaktion Books, 2021).
Eric C. Rath; Technologies of Taste: Restaurant Guides, Diners, and Dining Halls in Interwar Tokyo. Gastronomica 1 November 2020; 20 (4): 75–85. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2020.20.4.75
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