Kataryzna Cwiertka's Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food, Power and National Identity is the first English-language history of modern Japanese food and a welcome addition to the corpus of scholarly books and articles on Japanese food, which includes Theodore Bestor's Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2004) and essays by Anne Allison and Paul Noguchi. Cwiertka succeeds in identifying and explaining the many dramatic changes that transformed Japanese cuisine between the late 1850s and the first decade of the twenty-first century, and produced a contemporary culinary scene that she describes as “homogeneous” and “multicultural” (pp. 7, 9–10).

The opening chapter considers the impact of the opening of Japan to the West and the Meiji government's policy of “civilization and enlightenment” on the Japanese diet. First, the emperor, empress, and government officials learned to eat Western cuisine, an act that had...

You do not currently have access to this content.