sushi economy: Globalization and the making of a modern delicacy.
Position in the literature
The main arguments
The fish economy
There are various books and articles published to highlight he significant impacts and reasons of increased globalization. The books cover a series of specific topics and as a result they represent their main ideas in the most relevant format. The current book is not only a significant piece of work that addresses economic and globalization as a subject. However after reading the book it is also likely that the reader gains an impression of reading a travel account. The author has covered a variety of aspects related to globalization as main argument of the work. The presentation of historic, global, cultural, economic, and futuristic view of the global culture is addressed using a comprehensive approach.
According to Pilling (2007) the book is reviewed in the following sections addressing major elements of the discussed work. The name of the book under review is mentioned in the former sections. The reason for the topic of interest is also presented explaining the personal intentions formulating the basis of this work. The biographic information of the author and his professional affiliations along with the relevant work is also discussed. The book and its technical elements are also addressed.
The position in the literature explains the purpose of writing the book. The main arguments of the book are also highlighted to inform the audience with an overview of the discussed work. The critical analysis of the research is significant in exploration of the book and highlighting the missing elements that are necessary and forms a possible lacking in the research is also identified. The conclusion is a summary of the findings that are identified during the book review.
Book under review:
Issenberg, Sasha. (2007). The sushi economy: Globalization and the making of a modern delicacy. New York: Gotham Books.
Interest in the topic:
Globalization has influenced the world cultures and economies through sharing of information expedited using internet, frequent exchange of cultural and social values. The world is adopting different cultural, economic, and social norms previously confined for a particular geographic area. Similarly the languages, food, clothing, and habits of certain cultures are also spreading in the world through increased economic and social interactions across various cultures. The interesting elements of various cultures are not only introduced and adopted in different parts of the world but they are also becoming part of the international culture. The gradual shift of the notable elements could be addressed in terms of their appeal and value brought through globalization.
In the past four decades, the culture and the products cultivated by the Japanese have greatly influenced the world. The Japanese delicacy, sushi, can be dated back to the 8th century, has become a world-wide food phenomenon which is now being converted to the modern fast food option (Nagel, 2013). This food choice is so popular that it can be strongly associated with the globalization of the Japanese culture.
I would like to know more about the culture of sushi, its eventual spread across the globe, and its influence on the global economy by reviewing Sasha Issenberg’s The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy. I have a deep interest in the topic of sushi as I was born in Tokyo and have grown up feasting on this healthy dietary choice for as long as I can remember; it truly would be a great opportunity to delve deeper into a part of my cultural roots as well as my favorite meal option.
Section 1: Summary
The book’s author is Sasha Isenberg, who has produced various academic and journalistic works. He is also known for his work in business, economy, politics, and globalization. The book “The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy” was published in year 2007 and he has also written various business and globalization articles in newspapers. He is a journalistic author working for The Boston Globe, Slate, and also a contributing auditor of The Washington Monthly. The author has covered political stories and integration of technology and business concepts within the paradigm of presidential elections.
The extensive work produced within the political and business segments of newspapers. It has enabled the author to write a variety of articles that contribute towards a comparison of global and local political scenarios. The business and economy related topics covered by the author are mostly found in his work during 2007 and 2008. Since then the work is mostly related to cover political topics especially within United States.
He has also written several articles on presidential campaign of President Obama. After a successful launch of his first book, the author produced “The Victory Lab: The secret science of winning campaigns” as his second book. The third book that he is about to release is “The Engagement: a definitive history of the quarter-century of political battles, legal maneuvers, and social change around gay marriage.”
The book “The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy” is the first book written by the journalist of Philadelphia Sasha Isenberg. The topic covered within the book is related to the economic, historical, and cultural in nature. The raw-fish trade in global economy is covered by the author in relation to its cultural aspects. The approach taken in the book resembles a traveling tour in search of the economic impacts of raw-fish trading and associated culinary aspects. The colorful approach in presenting the economic and historical aspects of trading post World War II is significant issues that are highlighted throughout the book.
The book is also one of the significant accounts of practical protein and rice weakness. The world outside Japan was unaware of the crisis taking place through fanatics, chefs, pirates, and tuna ranchers. The Japanese post war economic crisis and the techniques deployed for coping with the challenges in managing the industrialized nation’s enterprise is adopted throughout the world as symbol of crisis management. The Western economies and businesses also followed Japanese management techniques to increase economic activity within their countries. The author highlights the significance of Meguro and Bluefin tuna in relation to its usage in Sushi.
The book has covered the aspects of global trade and culture from the perspective of cuisine and history. The futuristic impacts are also discussed. The work presents extensive element of research insight from Tokyo fish market, North Atlantic fishermen, Sushi bars, Tuna ranchers, and Australian coasts. The information presented in the book is related to the art, cuisine, and history. However the tone of the written book is livelier as compared with most of the economic and historical books.
Position in the literature:
The book is identified as adopting an informative approach for readers. The book is also related to a significant account of history and global economy. The literary classification of the work is broad as it signifies the important elements of history, economy, and culture. Theglobal expansion of the cuisines and their impact on developing a global culture are explored. The book also contains a significant work related to traveling. The book covers economy and history as the central idea taking Sushi as the world appreciated cuisine. The global approach and historical impacts of Japanese approach in management of post war economic crisis is also discussed in the work.
The main arguments:
The book is organized in such a way that it covers a broad range of subjects within the paradigm of globalization. The division of book into four major portions is also a significant approach in presenting the global history and evolution of cuisines across the world. The exploration of the global cuisine, the global outreach of the sushi, the fishing industry, and future of sushi are major segments that are addressed by the author. The work is based on the main argument of globalization and its impacts on trade, cuisine, history, and culture of different nations.
In the first part of the book exploration of sushi is addressed by the author using a historic perspective. The mechanism of the first Atlantic Bluefin tuna was shipped live to Japan. The work also explores that how sushi evolved from its fermented origins as a way to preserve rice to the popular forms. It is enjoyed as a complete global cuisine at present. The different forms of sushi are described as futomaki, nigiri, sashimi, and the box sushi. The box sushi is still denoted as a regional fermented delicacy
The second section of the book identifies the expansion of sushi from a Japanese delicacy to a globally appreciated delicacy. The change from domestic to international perspective is the major element. This section of the book is featured with the introduction of sushi into Los Angeles, Texas, and other states. The spread of sushi as a food in global marketplace is also the main argument of the second section. The capability of sushi in becoming widely available across the U.S. And into rest of the world is also discussed within this part.
The third part of the book focuses on the fishing industry as an overall economic segment. The fishing industry in different ports of the world is explored in relation to tuna as a primary catch crop. The issues that are currently faced by the fish production within the industry are also explored and identified to acquaint the reader. The author further addresses that how over fishing has destroyed wild tuna populations. Furthermore the book also highlights that tuna farming has become a profitable option that is still dependent on wild fish.
The last section of the book concludes with the current economic and cultural impacts on continuation of sushi. The author also highlights that how cultural changes and impacts within Asia particularly China can have an influence of fish trade. The possible changes as a purchasing pattern of tuna in terms of fresh, frozen, wild, and farmed tuna can impact the global trade of the specie. The tuna caught in the Mediterranean has also influenced production. The impacts of producing tuna in farms as compared with the wild caught tuna and fattening them on fish farms are also highlighted in the last section.
The exploration of the book with respect to its main arguments reveals that the book is written to highlight the importance of a cuisine that has the capability to influence the global fish demand. The usage and origin of sushi and the mechanism to export it from Japan in the rest of the world is also a notable point of the book. The interesting elements are highlighted as the complexities of tuna fishing trade. The sushi has also influenced the demand for tuna fish worldwide. The future of sushi as a cuisine and tuna fish as a raw material for preparing the food also provides a valid basis for the work (Werlen, 2007).
Section 2: Critical analysis:
The book “The sushi economy: Globalization and the making of a modern delicacy” is reviewed in terms of its significance in addressing the subject as well as the critical analysis of the work. The book, as mentioned above is divided into four major parts the freight economy, the food economy, the fish economy and the future economy. These four parts not only addresses different parts of sushi as economy and its impacts but at the same time it they present the historic, global, trade, and future of the sushi as a cuisine as well as the culture. The review presented below is also segmented according to the sections defined above.
The sushi bars are defined in terms of their simplicity and wooden decor ambiance. The businesses selling sushi are lit brightly and represent the traditional world. The casual settings enable the consumers to sit, relax, and discuss issues of common interest while hiving their favorite food. The consistency in providing consumers with the joy and relaxed environment is hall mark of the sushi bars. The sensational food provides an experience for sushi lovers that encourage them to come again and enjoy the authentic food in traditional environment. The composition of sushi is cool and its presentation in lightly seasoned rice also provides a delicious combination of food and appreciation of the chef’s capabilities who prepared the food.
The chefs of sushi are described as using a sharp blade and bare hands to prepare the Japanese delicacy that is now spread around the globe. The chefs that prepare sushi are depicted as traditionalists refusing to accept the modern delicacies to prepare one the most popular food of Japanese. The rickety toaster oven is used refraining from direct fire. However the author has termed sushi kitchen as a laboratory which is not a relevant example to describe the craftsmanship for preparation.
One of the most significant elements of preparing sushi is yet to be described as live preparation. The restaurants are rightly described as creating a distance between the plate and the places (kitchens) where the food is prepared. It is necessary to involve the customers to witness preparation as well as the virtual anonymity that is a character of sushi. The customers of sushi bars are familiar with the live preparations and knowing their chefs who prepared the delicious food for them. The chefs of sushi not only prepare the food in front of customers but they also remove the fish meat while being noticed (Krummert, 2007). The placement of food on rice and service to customers using the artful presentation skills is also a notable skill of the sushi chefs.
The author describes that sushi is one of the great food inventions of late twentieth century. It is however not true in terms of a true account. The origin of sushi is Japan and the population is accustomed to various types of sushi in its origin. The global expansion of sushi as a cuisine and its impacts on the customer who love to try new foods and tastes can rightfully describe sushi. The growth in technology, commuting, frequent sharing of ideas and cultures has also facilitated the wide spread of Japanese cuisine and its delicacies.
The fish economy:
The fish economy part of the book revolves around the availability and particulars of the tuna fish. It is highlighted that the book defines tuna one of the major element of sushi. The tuna fish in sushi is mostly liked by the dinners. The book has already mentioned that having good tuna in restaurants within Tokyo is a must have feature. There are some of the authors that indicated that the restaurants in Tokyo claiming sushi in their places must keep tasty tuna and if they fail to do so their signs mentioning that they have tunas will cry. It is a metamorphic representation of the fact that tuna is the major ingredient in the whole sushi. However it is not only the case. The availability of seasoning as well as typical rice is as required as tasty tuna.
The export of sushi as a Japanese delicacy in United States and abroad is also mentioned using Hori’s words “The diamond of the ocean” however it does not mention the source of statistics quoting thirty million Americans as regular consumers of sushi. The statistics and numbers should be appropriately referenced in order to understand the real impact of the fish consumption and its usage within the global market. The misconception without any appropriate reference is also noted in the form of claims that the most expensive price of food is sushi based on tuna’s most liked parts costing up to two hundred dollars per pound. The information mentioned should be referenced for increasing credibility.
The book rightfully mentions that during the early age using tuna as a human food was not considered appropriate. The fact that sports fishing also excluded catching tuna as a worthy fish. The red tuna in particular was not liked in various parts of the world and it was used an animal food (Hughes, 2007). Tuna has two unique features including its lean meat and a heavy oily belly. The oily part was ignored and used as cat food in Japan where lean meat of the fish was liked as essential food item. The Japanese did not like the fatty part of tuna and preferred to use lean part as sushi food.
The supply and demand of sushi is also discussed the book in detail. The tuna was made available across in 1970s. The historic aspect of the taste exported from Japan to global consumers is regarded as a major element in changes occurring for fish exports. The global consumers started liking the taste and value of sushi which has impacted the value for Atlantic fishermen. The economic impact of Bluefin tuna increased consumption has also raised the earnings of these professionals. The book mentions that 10,000% increase in price is observed for the fishermen. The claim is tail lacking the imperial evidence of such claim. In case the claim is regarded credible it has a huge impact on the economy and lives of the fishermen catching Bluefin tuna in Atlantic.
The Bluefin tuna specie is also regarded as a rare species after the increase in its demand across the globe. The book’s claim is valid and it can also be confirmed through other sources. The increased consumption in sushi across the globe is one of the many reasons including the increased exports of tuna fish as a canned food. There are various other uses and ways of consuming tuna which are independent of sushi sales. The interesting element is also highlighted stating that the Bluefin caught with the same net has different characters and taste. The ability of tuna to travel long distances and distinct taste is also a notable character of the fish as per the work.
The difference in texture, fat, color, oil, and flavor is also defined as a feature that tuna continues to retain. The fish is not only unique form each other within the same clan of fish but at the same time it also have a wider degree of meat variety. The large size of the fish is also one of the reasons for having a different composition of meat in all parts. The deeper one researches about the meat in different parts of the fish it is likely to find more information as a claim recorded in the work.
Similarly the fish is also known for its unique rate. The meat obtained from different parts of the fish is highly distinctive. The result of the price for each part is also defined in terms of its taste and appeal for the consumers. The use of fish meat in sushi and its distinctive price for different parts can be as distinctive as couple of dollars per pound for some parts while others might be selling as the lowest price as compared with other fish. The standards of taste and presentation of sushi are also different in various parts of the world as well as within its home town Japan. In Japan, the taste apprised for tuna is different as it is dependent on the local community, developed taste, and availability of the fish meat.
The twentieth century is not only named as major technology and changes in business process but also for the multiculturalism and globalization. The globalization has earned a number of benefits for the populations in terms of increased availability of information and multicultural norms. Eating raw fish until the mid of last century was not accepted as one of the normal social habit. However the global spread of the Japanese management techniques as well as the cuisine delicacies has enabled the world to taste its features. The delicious taste of sushi has soon taken control of the resentment over eating raw fish.
The revolution in transportation is denoted as the post-World War II scenario in the book. The development of long distance boats, travelers, and technology is also mentioned. The transportation technology revolutions and voyage of shipping containers is also mentioned in the book. The transportation of the fresh fish for eating raw meat is also covered using the notion that these technologies and developments enabled it. However it is not only too early of a period when the traveling of fresh fish was enabled. The transportation of the materials that are perishable could be traced back to late 1960s and early 1970s. The developments of technology enabling a low temperature transportations and low cost of shipment are however a right reason for promoting sushi and its raw material Bluefin tuna across the globe.
The sushi fish in particular could only be spread through using air cargo. The work mentions the correct era when the air lifting of food containers and their air shipment started to take place. The global consumers were able to taste the fresh fish when it was transported using the air freight and transportation. The Atlantic fish was exported to Japan and widely consumed as sushi by the locals. The laps were as short as 3 days and as a result the global consumers were able to taste fresh delicacy of Japan.
The grading of tuna is also rightfully described however the latest technology usage is missed out. The author mentions that tuna was able to travel across the seas while being graded by the experienced labor at the harbors. However the use of technology to graded and packs tuna also started well in advance since its export to the global markets. The chefs and visitors of restaurants were also able to note the quality of Bluefin tuna. The difference between quality determinations of tuna fish is not as simple as clothing or other commodities that are transported using the global supply chain. The element of natural influence is mentioned and it is correct to note that each price of tuna is different form one another.
The sushi as a business and Bluefin tuna as a raw material has to confirm various standards that are rarely written and followed since the specie is not a standardized product. The mutual trust of fish merchants and the global buyers and resellers is required to achieve a high valued long-term business relationship. The business relationship is one of the bases for developing a local and global presence. The presence of such volatile product conditions also make it difficult for the producers as well as the consumers to abide by the minimum acceptable standards.
The globalized trade and culture is also impacted through various delicacies of a specific culture. There are various renowned cultural products that are part of a global economy at present. These delicacies are adopted on the basis of their appeal to the consumers. The globalization has also impacted trade of various commodities including food, technology, clothing, and electronics.
The enabler of globalization is technology and advancements of mechanism that is required to achieve a higher degree of product spread. The book however presents data and various facts that are based on the years of its publication. To be precise these quotes are mostly cover up to the year 2007. It requires further update information as since 2007 the changes occurring in the global scenario have been more relevant.
The global economies are recipients of localized impacts and as a result the businesses including food and particularly exports of sushi are also affected. The use of Bluefin tuna as one of the primary ingredient in preparing sushi also has to face impacts of the global economy as various elements from shipping, transportation, and restaurant expenses has a degree of impact on the final prices that are offered to the consumers. The key in becoming a global delicacy for sushi is also concerning the availability of good quality tuna along with the health benefits of Japanese cuisine.
The food economy is also a notable section in the book mentioning the importance of food items and their impact on economies. Sushi has already gained a status of global food and fish as a major component is already a renowned commodity. The impact of food items being globally consumed can be observed on local markets. The high priced items are exported and as a result the equilibrium price of the commodity is also changed. The changes in demand and supply of various items is now determined on the basis of international markets. However the local production and consumption is also a matter that should be looked closely to identify its impacts on the international market.
The prices of commodities and their international prices does have a profound impact on local communities however another economic aspect that should also be considered as a part of the issue is that higher prices being paid in the global market elevates the local market and gross producers as well as the mediators can also gain a better return. These elements also considerable as it has impact on the country are economy and enable to earn foreign reserves. Similarly the importing economies also consider focusing on their own productions after level of imported item prices become considerably high.
The futuristic economies are not considered as local issues in the present globalized systems. The interdependent nature of global trade is also a considerable factor as various products starting from energy and oil ending up to medical and food related commodities are dependent on the international markets. The future of trade and economy is also linked with the global situations in terms of political and regional developments. These developments in case of war or tense political situations on issues may also cause increasing concerns for the global economy.
Similarly the book also defines the concerns of the future economy and highlights various relevant elements. These issues are covered with respect to sushi and Bluefin tuna. In general the basic requirements for futuristic approach for covering economic aspects with respect to globalization should be considered. The limited coverage of theseelements cannot define the overall impacts and issues of globalization concerning the economic conditions. The coverage of a large number of issues is also required to sustain the changes occurring in the economic paradigm of the world.
The emergence of collaborative zones inclosing Europe should also be considered as it can become one of the most collective efforts to develop global economics.The role of large corporations and multi-national organizations is also vital and influences the global economies. There are large multinational corporations that influence on countries and developed economies in terms of their policies and approach towards issues of common interest. The intercontinental transport business is also controlled by the large shipping and freight carriers. The economic condition of global economy and transportation is one of the major elements in highlighting the availability of commodities across the globe.
The author of the book has included various details of history, economy, culture, and trade that are gained through extensive traveling and interviewing concerning players. However there are different aspects that are remained uncovered in relation to the future of fish and sushi. The research regarding the history and culture is quite informative and enables the readers to gain knowledge about the Japanese delicacy “sushi.”
The global reach of Japanese sushi and management techniques is also a valid point raised and elaborated in the work. However there are various statistics that are either quoted without any reference or misinterpreted. These include the figures of annual American consumers of sushi. Furthermore the misinterpretation of the fact that the global reach of Bluefin tuna has also enabled the fishermen of the specie to earn 10,000 times more as compared with the localized consumption. These claims should be supported with the appropriate referencing.
The overall review of the book highlights that the elaborative work is carried out present certain facts regarding the history of tuna fish consumption, important factors that played their role in global outreach of sushi. The Japanese delicacy is rightly defined as a global dish at present. The wide spread of the technology and relatively faster means for fresh food and perishable items transportation is also a significant element. It is a thoroughly and light written work that provides significant information as well as unveils the historic events that played their role in spread of tuna fish and sushi.
Issenberg, S. (2007). “The” Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy. USA: Penguin.
Pilling, D. (2007 August). The Sushi Economy. Retrieved from http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/bb2d0e24-4a1c-11dc-9ffe-0000779fd2ac.html#axzz2lgvq9aVW
Nagel, S.W. (2013). Trevor Corson, The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, from Samurai to Supermarket. Southeast Review of Asian Studies. 31.
Werlen, H. (2007). The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy. History. 35-36.
Krummert, B. (2007). Totally Tuna. Restaurant Hospitality. 28.
Hughes, H. (Ed.). (2007). Best Food Writing 2007. USA: Da Capo Press.