In 2005, the Basic Law of Food Education (shokuiku kihon-hō) was enacted in Japan in response to a rise of lifestyle-related conditions and a high dependency on food imports. The enactment of this law was followed by a nationwide food education campaign—referred to as the shokuiku campaign—in collaboration with the ministerial bureaucracy and a number of food-related NGOs. In this article I assess how the Japanese state has revived the historical concept of food education (shokuiku) in the wider context of food governance. Shokuiku originated in the Meiji period (1868–1912) when food education provided nutritional guidelines that sought to enable Japanese citizens to cope with the demands of modernity. These objectives have shifted. The current revival of shokuiku is an anti-globalization force that seeks to improve the nation's eating habits and support ailing rural economies.

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