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Mc Donald’s In Japan: A Clash Of Harmony

607 words - 3 pages

In “Fast Food and Intergenerational Commensality in Japan: New Styles and Old Patterns,” John W. Traphagan and L. Keith Brown employs ethnographic observation to analyze Japanese reception to the prevalence of McDonald’s in Japan, taking into account the subjects’ and informants’ ethnic backgrounds and cultural contexts. Critics maintain that the invasion of McDonald’s poses as a threat to the traditional dining patterns in Japan; however, few of them attempt to examine the underlying reasons of Japanese diners’ attraction towards McDonald’s. The authors argue that, rather than bluntly intruding the Japanese culture, McDonald’s naturally gain popularity amongst the local customers because of its exemplification of the deep-rooted Japanese values of commensality.
To confirm their belief, the authors collected data by means of free listing, interviews, or simply practicing naturalistic observations in several Japanese cities including Mizusawa, Morioka, and Tokyo. The authors found that Japan had long had its own fast food culture as long ago as 1899, when a Japanese food chain, Yoshiniya, was established. In recent years, conveyer-belt sushi shops took the lead in the Japanese fast food industry because of the convenience they offer. The definition of “fast food” was not specified in this study; rather, it was open to interpretation and hence varied from informants to informants.
During interviews, most subjects quickly identified chain stores that featured hamburgers and fried chickens to be fast food restaurants, but swayed in deciding whether or not places that sell other food products should qualify likewise. It was noted that most Japanese people distinguished “fast food” based primarily on its selling styles and less on the food content. A group interview consisted of 5 men and 5 women aged 60-70 in Kanegasaki brought up the point that the definition of fast food changes...

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