Over the past decade in Japan, consumption of raw chicken dishes increased after the government placed restrictions on raw beef and pork. This article explores the lax regulations on raw chicken, a high-risk food with a devoted following, especially among young consumers in Japan. Historically, raw chicken was mostly limited to particular regions and breast meat, but it has recently expanded more broadly throughout Japan and encompasses riskier cuts from internal organs. Drawing on government statistics of food poisoning, I analyze trends in documented incidents, geographic variation, and demographic composition. I then contextualize these trends through interviews with hygiene division officials in Saga Prefecture and Miyazaki Prefecture, two prefectures that employ different strategies to reduce their high rates of food poisoning from raw chicken. This analysis of raw chicken in Japan illustrates the need to go beyond superficial encounters with unfamiliar cuisines to engage with the underlying social and ecological forces that shape situated expressions of risk within culinary practice.
Risky but Raw: On (Not) Regulating One of the Most High-Risk Dishes in Japan
Benjamin Schrager is currently a JSPS postdoctoral researcher at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Agriculture. He received his PhD from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa where his dissertation focused on chicken meat in Japan. His current research includes local food, meat industries, and disease ecologies.
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Benjamin Schrager; Risky but Raw: On (Not) Regulating One of the Most High-Risk Dishes in Japan. Gastronomica 1 August 2021; 21 (3): 32–44. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2021.21.3.32
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