The Impact Of Rice On Japanese Culture

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The Impact of Rice on Japanese Identity
The aim of this essay is to explore how Rice is connected to the production of Japanese culture and society. I will argue, following Bourdieu, that Japanese culture and religious beliefs have been shaped and defined by their staple food; Rice. The essay will also discuss the impact of rice on Japanese morals and Japanese society as a whole. The demographics that this essay will concentrate on are; the influence rice plays in the Japanese religion; Shinto, and how the very nature of Japan’s spiritualism is in direct correlation with the use of rice in their society.
“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of rice to the Japanese: the countries origins are rooted in the stuff” (McCurry, 2011)
Historians have debated where rice originated from and tend to suggest that rice was first produced in China. Japan, on the other hand, has a completely different idea of where rice first appeared. Japanese mythology states that rice originally came from Uke-mochi, The Shinto God of food. It was thought that this God was making a meal for Tsukiyomi, a Kami. Uke-mochi turned his head towards the land and crops appeared and then turned his head towards the sea and fish appeared. Tsukiyomi was not pleased by this apparent gesture of goodwill and slew Uke-mochi. After Uke-mochi was killed, the Japanese believe that rice appeared from his abdomen (a sacred part of the body that contains the soul, according to Japanese culture, which is the reason

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