Authenticity and Domestication: A Study of Japanese Restaurants in Melbourne


8 May, Wednesday, 12 noon to 1 pm, Japanese Studies Centre, Auditorium. Building 54, Monash University Clayton campus, Wellington Rd, Clayton [map]

Speaker:  Dr. Iori HAMADA, Asia Institute, University of Melbourne

Abstract: This paper concerns issues of authenticity and how consumers shape their ideas about particular cross-cultural products and practices.  Japanese restaurants in Melbourne are deployed as a cross-cultural setting to examine the tension between consumers’ claims for authenticity and a process of domestication.  Through an analysis of my interviews with local consumers, I suggest consumer’s ideas about what Japanese food ought to be (i.e. authenticity claims) do not always correspond to the point of ‘origin’, since the origin in the context of Japanese food is the very result of domestication, through which ‘foreign’ elements become constitutive of the ‘original’ over time.  

 Author Bio: Iori Hamada is currently working as a Coordinator and Lecturer of Contemporary Japanese Studies at the Asia Institute, University of Melbourne.  She completed her PhD project researching the phenomena of overseas Japanese restaurants in 2012 at the university.  She has published in the areas of cross-cultural politics, food and international communication.