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CJS Thursday Lecture Series | Eating Contests in Early Modern Japanese Entertainment Media

Eric C. Rath, 2017-2018 CJS Toyota Visiting Professor; Professor, History Department, University of Kansas

Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) “Peace, Joy, and the Price War Between Sake and Sweets” (Taiheiki mochi sake tatakai) produced between 1843-46 Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) “Peace, Joy, and the Price War Between Sake and Sweets” (Taiheiki mochi sake tatakai) produced between 1843-46
Early modern Japan witnessed the rise of food as a subject of entertainment media as exemplified by numerous literary and visual depictions of culinary contests in which pedants debated the virtues of rice or tea; strong men (and women) measured their endurance in the number of bowls of noodles or cups of sake they could swallow; and posters ranked seafood recipes against vegetarian dishes. Visual and literary artists even helped audiences imagine what would happen if food or drinks came alive and debated and battled each other. Early modern media proved that food and beverages were not mundane objects, but instead had lives of their own, which were poetic, heroic, and potentially precarious.

Eric C. Rath is the CJS Toyota Visiting Professor for the 2017-2018 academic year and a professor of premodern Japanese history at the University of Kansas where he specializes in Japanese cultural history. His publications include Japan’s Cuisines: Food, Place and Identity (Reaktion Books, 2016) and Food and Fantasy in Early Modern Japan (University of California Press, 2010).

Image: Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858) “Peace, Joy, and the Price War Between Sake and Sweets” (Taiheiki mochi sake tatakai) produced between 1843-46
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When and Where

Map Weiser Hall - Room 110

December 2017

11:30am - 1:00pm

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