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Digesting modernity, healing with nature: The birth of a 'natural' food movement in Meiji Japan, 1905-1910

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This article traces the emergence of a 'natural' food movement in Japan in the first decade of the twentieth century. At the centre of the movement was the Imperial Food Education Society (Shokuikukai, later changed to the Shokuyō Association) led by a former military physician, Ishizuka Sagen. Drawing on nineteenth-century physiological chemistry, Sino-Japanese medicine and the yōjō (nurturing life) tradition from the Tokugawa period, Ishizuka put forth a new dietary program based on the mineral balance between potassium and sodium. By situating these claims on 'right eating through the natural and traditional diet' in the context of the post-Hibiya riot social milieu, this article seeks to probe into the modern cultural nationalism that underpinned this natural food campaign.
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Keywords: modernisation; nature; rice; shokuyō; traditionalism

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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  • The half-yearly journal Global Environment: A Journal of History and Natural and Social Sciences acts as a forum and echo chamber for ongoing studies on the environment and world history, with special focus on modern and contemporary topics. Our intent is to gather and stimulate scholarship that, despite a diversity of approaches and themes, shares an environmental perspective on world history in its various facets, including economic development, social relations, production government, and international relations.
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