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ISSN : 2384-0668(Print)
ISSN : 2384-0692(Online)
S/N Korean Humanities Vol.5 No.2 pp.89-112

On the Significance of Culinary Culture in the Cultivation of Ethno-National Identity of the Koreans Residing in Japan

Kim Jongsuk
Korea University of Japan


This study examines the historical trajectory of and the impetus for the selection of bulgogi by the Koreans residing in Japan, contextualized in Japanese history as well as vis-à-vis theories of cultural anthropology and the practice thereof. Moreover, it focuses on the cultural-economic and diachronic processes of bulgogi’s development into a veritable ethno-national food industry amidst the influence of Japanese society upon Korean-Japanese dietary habits. Finally, the study addresses the place of Korean culinary traditions, including bulgogi, in education that may impart a sense of Korean ethno-nationalist consciousness in the third-, fourth-, and fifth-generation Korean- Japanese in various social spaces within Japanese society. This is so done in face of lived experiences in the attempts to solve the problem of heritance of ethno-nationalist consciousness for the Korean-Japanese people. In sum, three suggestions are forwarded: 1) In the future, it will be necessary to produce talented individuals who can cultivate ethno-nationalism through a systematic study of the culinary traditions of Korea. In addition, possibilities for extending to other grade levels the courses that are currently executed at the middle-school first-grade level must be explored; 2) Through regularly held re-education that includes research and seminars by and for the Korean-Japanese people in the food industry in not only Japan, but also in South Korea, possibilities toward a more creative, progressive culinary culture for Korean food, including bulgogi made of wagyu, Korean beef, as well as other types of beef, should be sought from the persepective of nutrional science and management systems; and 3) In sharing common goals of the disparate groups in the Korean diaspora, including the Korean-Chinese people in Yanbian, possibilities for collaborative research should be explored, and the problem of cultivating ethno-nationalist consciousness on foreign soil must be discussed.