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The Japanese Restaurant as an Exotic Genre: A Study of Culinary Providers’ Practices and Dialogues in Melbourne

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Author(s): Iori Hamada

Journal: New Voices : A Journal for Emerging Scholars of Japanese Studies in Australia and New Zealand
ISSN 1833-5233

Volume: 5;
Start page: 84;
Date: 2011;
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Keywords: Japanese restaurants | Australia | cross-cultural representation | Japaneseness | exoticism

ABSTRACT
This article examines a new mode of ‘Japaneseness’ emerging through increasing cross-cultural exchanges and interactions since the late twentieth century. Based upon ethnographic data and fieldwork, it demonstrates how Japaneseness is reconfigured through contact with other forms such as ‘whiteness’ within popular commodity culture. The article analyses the Japanese restaurant in Melbourne as an ‘exotic genre’ within which the new mode of Japaneseness is informed and constructed. It argues that this mode of the exotic can be distinguished from earlier formations of exoticism that unproblematically locate a subject monolithically within narrow stereotypes, although the old exoticism has not entirely disappeared. Rather than viewing the Japanese restaurant as a cohesive category, this study conceives of it as a cross-culturally implicated formation that challenges a fixed representation of Japaneseness constructed from a single point of view.

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