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Japan's Dietary Transition and Its Impacts

Vaclav Smil and Kazuhiko Kobayashi

Publication Year: 2012

An examination of the transformation of the Japanese diet from subsistence to abundance and an assessment of the consequences for health, longevity, and the environment.

Published by: The MIT Press

Series: Food, Health, and the Environment


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Title Page, Copyright

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Series Foreword

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p. vii

I am pleased to present the ninth book in the Food, Health, and the Environment series. This series explores the global and local dimensions of food systems and examines issues of access, justice, and environmental and community well-being. It includes books that focus on the way food is grown, processed...

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pp. ix-xii

This book is about long-term dietary change and its consequences for agricultural production, trade, food consumption, environment, and health. Its scope dictates interdisciplinary coverage and precludes any simple categorization: the book draws on findings from historical and economic studies...

List of Abbreviations

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p. xiii

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1. Japanese Diet, 1900 – 2010: From Subsistence to Affluence

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pp. 1-6

During the 1970s, Junichi Saga began recording the memories of his patients, who were born mostly during the last decade of the nineteenth and the first decade of the twentieth century and lived in, or near, Tsuchiura, in the Lake Kasumigaura region. Almost uniformly, those testimonies...

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2. Old and New Foodstuffs: A Century of Transitions

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pp. 7-70

There is no shortage of universal, nearly universal, or very common trends that unfolded across the eventful twentieth century. Entries on this list could range from unprecedented growth of populations to no less unprecedented rates of urbanization, from economic integration and globalization...

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3. Food Consumption: Continuity and Change

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pp. 71-108

Chapter 2 traced the important components of Japan’s diet, from rice to seaweeds, and the long-term changes in supply and per capita consumption. In this chapter we quantify Japan’s twentieth-century dietary transition by examining it from every major nutritional perspective. Although modern dietary...

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4. Diets and Well-being: Health and Longevity

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pp. 109-130

For many individuals, their genetic inheritance or excessive environmental exposure is the most important factor determining their health and longevity. For the poorest traditional populations, it was impossible to rank their inadequate diets, their dismal living condition, and their extraordinarily hard...

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5. Environmental Impacts: Land, Water, Nitrogen, and Ocean

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pp. 131-190

Agriculture is a clever manipulation of artificial ecosystems in order to maximize their net primary productivity. Some of these agroecosystems are relatively species rich, involving complex rotations of crops, even interplanting, as well as the maintenance of perennial plants in hedgerows or tree groves...

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6. Japanese Diet: Retrospect and Prospect

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pp. 191-202

Fascination of long-term perspectives lies in dynamic combinations of gradual trends, which often unfold in unpredictable ways, and sudden shifts whose power sets entire nations on new historical trajectories. The history of modern Japan is a near-perfect example of this interaction. The five generations...


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pp. 203-223


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pp. 225-229

E-ISBN-13: 9780262305389
Print-ISBN-13: 9780262017824

Page Count: 244
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Food, Health, and the Environment
Series Editor Byline: Robert Gottlieb See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 810931648
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Japan's Dietary Transition and Its Impacts

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Diet -- Japan -- Longitudinal studies.
  • Food habits -- Japan -- Longitudinal studies.
  • Diet -- Health aspects -- Japan.
  • Food consumption forecasting -- Japan.
  • Agricultural ecology -- Japan.
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