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Globalization and Food in Japan Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 3rd, 2020


Globalization and changes in food culture have influenced many countries in the world, with Japan being one of them (Traphagan and Brown 119). For many years, Japanese society has preserved its traditional cuisine; however, the entry of McDonalds and other fast food restaurants have not only influenced the eating culture of Japanese, but also placed Japan in the global market. Moreover, Japan has been successful in maintaining its culture, but pressure from globalization is influencing it to make some compromises if it needs to be competitive in global market. The fish industry, mainly the sushi and tuna, have been a Japanese culture until it gained the attention of other people around the world. The consumption of Sushi in America has especially increased and influenced the American culture in one way or the other (Ceccarini 6).

Food is one of the basic needs and different cultures have their different cuisines, but with globalization, different countries have an opportunity to share their food cultures with others in a global market. This is what Japan has done by marketing its fish and making it a delicacy for many other countries. However, the vigor in which fast foods penetrate in the market has not only affected the eating culture of Japanese and other global societies, but also contributed to a slow death of traditional foods.

Research Questions

The interaction between different countries through food products is a step forward, but how can this be sustained in order to be successful in a wider group of countries apart from Japan and the other developed countries? Can the markets be sustained everywhere once set? We have the McDonalds in the developed countries and it has influenced food market in Japan, so continued globalization will affect cultures in all countries in the world (Ceccarini 6), including developing countries. However, one would be concerned about the future of traditional foods in the society.

Research Site

The research will not be done in a particular site; it will be conducted using secondary means including publications such as journals, books, documentaries, and even reports. Once data is gathered, it would be organized and presented in report format. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques would be used to interpret results.

Globalization and Food in Japan

Literature Review

Globalization has become a common term in the world as most economies continue working towards achieving a presence in global market. Globalization refers to the trend of countries working with each other through interrelationships in trading, cultural aspects, entertainment, and even education (Carroll 451). By making the world a global market, trading among different nations is made easier. Although globalization has been instrumental in connecting the world, the issue of global foods has been a subject of much interest as it impacts heavily on health and diet; indeed its impact on indigenous food cuisines is of great concern (Grew 211).

In Japan, the food market is one of the sectors that have attracted globalization in a remarkable way. The Bluefin tuna for instance and the Sushi are products that have made Japan go global because many countries have become interested in these fresh fish diet from Japan. It has created a wide business base and network to the other countries, making it global trade (Bestor 78). The Japanese delicacy has created many interests from other countries after the realization that the prime blue fin tuna is more profitable and nutritious, and it attracts a large market demand. The price after being fished and when it was sold in the markets and kitchen stores had increased over the years due to its high demand (Bestor 87). Additionally, Sushi has developed a broad market following, as it is not only a Japanese cuisine, but there are numerous restaurants in other countries that have adopted this culture.

Food creates the identity of people in that, when one interacts with other people from other cultures, he or she identifies different cuisines that they call their home food. These differences bring in cultural diversity, which is part of globalization. Indeed, food culture has been identified as a means of looking at global issues, since it is used to bring people together (Ceccarini 3).

The impact of globalization and food in Japan is one of great interest, as it has not only helped in making the country a global success, but it has succeeded in opening trade between Japan and other countries including the United States. The McDonalds has been considered as a Western restaurant for fast foods (Traphagan and Brown 133); however, the Japanese right now cannot call it a foreign entity since it has penetrated their market and many of them love it. Indeed, their culture of sharing is still maintained when they enter in these restaurants as a family and order the common burgers, fries, and shakes found there instead of their traditional delicacies.

Globalization has not only opened Japan to international community, but also allowed Japan products to find their way into foreign markets as well. This applies to Sushi, which has slowly made its way to the hearts of North Americans among other places, leading to the opening of several restaurants that deal with and serve Sushi; it is more of a Sushi fad (Bestor 77). The main drive is to see how one can improve the relationships between countries through sharing cultural aspects like food and making it a target market. The diversity of foods in different countries is a great way of networking through foods (Ceccarini 38).

The means through which the McDonalds entered Japan successfully can be the key to speculation given that it is a Western food store. However, the fast foods entity embraced the local culture in additional to its exotic practice, thus managing to penetrate into the local Japanese market. Indeed, it opened doors for other fast food restaurants form outside and within Japan to flourish in this fast changing society. McDonalds is best known for its burgers but it has undergone changes in a country like Japan, where it sells shrimp too; indeed, other outlets in other cities like Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing have changed their menu to capitalize on the demand of local people while at the same maintaining its originality (Ceccarini 6).

Research Questions

The food market in Japan has helped globalization process through markets and cities trading with one another. The interaction between different countries through food products is a step forward, but how can this be sustained in order to accommodate a wider group of countries apart from Japan and the other developed countries? Can the markets be sustained everywhere once set? With McDonalds setting base and succeeding in developed countries, is this possible to be the trend in other countries in the world, especially the developing countries?

Research Objectives

  • Understanding how globalization and food culture interact in Japan and the rest of the world though fish delicacy;
  • To establish other existing markets apart from the United States of America;
  • To understand how globalization works through food and its impact in cities and existing markets;
  • Establishing reasons that have made Japan to be in charge of its own economy and control globalization, and how other countries can adopt this strategy to get the success that Japan has achieved so far.

Outline Plan and Structure

The research study will comprise five sections, which will analyze the topic of globalization and food production in Japan and other markets in the world. The first chapter is an introduction to the research topic giving the overview of how the fish trade has affected globalization, and Japan penetrating into other markets to sell their product. This also outlines the research rationale and objectives for the study as well as outlining the rest of the study.

The second chapter will be a comprehensive literature review of globalization and food in the world and its impact in different places. It will also highlight other countries that have managed to have their own global food like Japan’s global sushi. The third chapter is research methodology, which will analyze in detail the research paradigm and philosophies to be used, sampling methods, data collection tools as well as methods of determining reliability and validity of the study. The fourth chapter will highlight the case study of the country selected. The fifth chapter will include a discussion and recommendations of the research findings.

Research Methodology

Generally, there are two types of methodologies, quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Qualitative methodologies are based on quantification of data that has been collected and the approach utilizes controlled variables to collect empirical statistics. Qualitative methodologies on the other hand obtain data through collecting personal opinions as well as personal feelings and subjective reports from participants in the study. Therefore, qualitative results are not in any way depicted by statistics. Quantitative research entails various techniques including experimental, co-relation, descriptive and cause comparative techniques.

Descriptive techniques test the outlined hypotheses using the collected data from the field, while cause comparative methods try to establish the cause-effect relationships between selected phenomena to be studied in the research. On the other hand, co-relational methods are utilized when the level of interaction or relationship between selected phenomena needs to be established.

The preferred data collection method will be external secondary data which refers to reports and other material about the entity under study but available within the public field. Secondary data may be referred as information that has been collected and analyzed by other group of people, other than the entity under study. Therefore, such data may be found in periodicals, magazines, journals, books, and newspapers. With the popularity of internet research, documents have become a credible source of data over the years. This will not only save time, but will be convenient in the journals and papers that need to be used to get the information needed are easily available and can always be found in the internet or electronic libraries.

Significance of the Research

The research is significant because when one looks at the whole idea of cultures being brought out in cuisines, it sparks an interest because not many countries, especially in the developing countries have tapped into global market of food. Indeed, very few food cultures from developing countries have made their way into international market, yet Western fast food restaurants have tried to penetrate in almost every part of the world. Therefore, if McDonalds and other large food outlets can have their presence across the globe and influence other cultures, then it would also be important to market traditional food cuisines into global markets. This would open doors for cultural exchange and appreciation of diversity in food cultures.

When sushi was first introduced, not everyone in America could stomach the idea of eating it, but look at Americans now and the many restaurants that are owned by Japanese nationals selling sushi to the people. This research is aimed at looking at globalization in a completely different angle, in that, it is not only about technology and infrastructure, but it can also be through food. Each country has the pride to own and maintain its own delicacies in order to preserve its identity. It is therefore through promotion of their food culture that countries can bring their own globalization and manage their success.

The other interesting aspect of the study will be the interaction of the people in restaurants that belong to people of other cultures. Such restaurants provide a platform for cross-cultural exchanges and are interesting places to meet new people and interact with them. This will help in building relationships with people of different races and appreciate their culture as a way of promoting the process of globalization.

Works Cited

Bestor, Theodore. “Supply-Side Sushi: Commodity, Market, and the Global City.” American Anthropologist, New Series 103.1 (2001): 76-95. Print.

Carroll, Walter. . 2009. Web.

Ceccarini, Rossella. “Food studies and sociology. A review focusing on Japan.” Journal of Area-Based Global Studies 1.1 (2010): 1-17. Print.

Grew, Raymond. “The Globalization of Food.” Technology and Culture 52.1 (2011): 210-211. Print.

Traphagan, John and Keith Brown. “Fast Food and Intergenerational Commensality in Japan: New Styles and Old Patterns”. Ethnology 41.2 (2002): 119-134. Print.

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