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Food and the Internet

Proceedings of the 20 th International Ethnological Food Research Conference, Department of Folklore and Ethnology, Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, University of Łodź, Poland, 3–6 September 2014

Edited By Violetta Krawczyk-Wasilewska and Patricia Lysaght

Discourses about food, especially on social media, affect the dietary choices of many people on a daily basis all over the world. In recognition of this phenomenon, the selection of 25 ethnological essays in this volume explores the effects of the digital age on post-modern food culture. It examines the influence of the Internet as a provider of a seemingly limitless flow of information and discourse about food sources, production, distribution and consumption. It also analyses the attitudes towards food in the context of ecological, environmental, ethical, health, and everyday lifestyle issues – at local, regional and global levels.
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Communication of Food Information by Means of the Internet in Contemporary Japan: Naoto Minami

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Naoto Minami

Communication of Food Information by Means of the Internet in Contemporary Japan

For thousands of years humankind has collected and exchanged information about food and cooking and communicated it to the next generation, both orally and in writing. In the past, such information was essential for survival because most people suffered from chronic nutritional deficiency. While the medium of information exchange among the lower classes of society was mainly oral, various cookery books were written for the upper classes who were in a position to enjoy good meals. In modern times, however, the differential between the food-related information available to the lower and upper classes in society has gradually decreased. In the twentieth century, the democratisation of information was advanced by the proliferation of food magazines, and restaurant guides such as the Michelin Guide and the Zagat Survey; in the twenty-first century, this process is being globally accelerated by means of the Internet.

This paper identifies some fields of investigation arising from the discussion of the advancement of communication about food by means of the Internet. It focuses on information about restaurants and eating out, as well as on home cooking. Communication regarding the former is mostly carried out via commercial websites, while communication with regard to the latter is based both on commercial websites and on social and personal networks. This article examines some examples of the online communication of information about food and cooking in contemporary Japan, on both commercial...

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