The conference is a collaborative, inter-disciplinary effort in studying technologies of everyday foods in modern East Asia. The meeting will consist of three main themes:

  1. The shifting relations between the “artisanal” and “industrial” technologies in this period in the transformation of “traditional” East Asia foods in specific historical moments, and the way they define food authenticity, nutritious value, and identity for East Asian societies.

  2. The “indigenization” of “non-East Asian” foods, and the way it engages East Asia imagination of modernity and changing identities and values in the period under study.

  3. East Asian goods in global circulation and exchange: technological issues on branding, safety, health standards, and commercial competition.


CRF Project “Making Modernity in East Asia: Technologies of Everyday Life, 19th – 21st Centuries” (RGC CRF The University of Hong Kong C7011-16G), Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The University of Hong Kong


May 30, 2019 [Closed-door Meeting]

9:00 – 10:30 am Angela Leung (HKU) “Re-inventing soy sauce in modern China in a time of crisis, ca. 1900-1950”
Discussant: Tatsuya Mitsuda

Izumi Nakayama (HKU) “Bare Necessities: Technology and Values of Modern Japanese Soy Sauce 1868-1952”
Discussant: Lissa Caldwell

10:30 – 10:45 am coffee break
10:45 am – 12:15 pm Kyoungjin Bae (Kenyon College) “Taste as Governor: Emergence of the Identity of Soy Sauce in Colonial Seoul”
Discussant: Lan Li

Hallam Stevens (Nanyang Technological University) “From Industrialization to Heritage Food: Soy Sauce in Singapore, 1938-2018”
Discussant: Eric Rath

1:15 – 2:45 pm John DiMoia (Seoul National University) “Achieving a Healthy Diet: Barley, ‘Well-Being,’ and the Legacy of Food Security Concerns in South Korea, (early 1970s-present)”
Discussant: Lawrence Zhang

Eric Rath (University of Kansas) “Diners, Densha, and Dives: How Mass Transportation Changed Food Writing in Interwar Japan”
Discussant: Tae-Ho Kim

2:45 – 3:00 pm coffee break
3:00 – 4:30 pm Lawrence Zhang (HKUST) “When Smallholders Compete with Tea Estates: the Cases of pre-1945 China and Taiwan”
Discussant: John DiMoia

Po-yi Hung (National Taiwan University) “Anxiety of Food Nationalism: Dilemmas of Bordering in the Vietnam-Taiwan Tea Trade”
Discussant: Kyoungjin Bae

Public Keynote

Popularizing Potatoes: Technology and Tradition in the Creation of a National Chinese Staple

“Popularizing Potatoes: Technology and Tradition in the Creation of a National Chinese Staple”

Speaker: Dr. Jakob Klein, SOAS, University of London

Time: 5:00 – 6:30 pm

Venue: Lecture Hall, G/F, May Hall, The University of Hong Kong [Location Map]

May 31, 2019 [Closed-door Meeting]

9:00 – 10:30 am Yajiun Fan (Fanhsu Corporation) “The Locality versus the Extraneous Nature of the Liquor Industry of Taiwan”
Discussant: Tristan Revells

Tristan Revells (Columbia University) “Local Cellars: Global IP Regimes, Authenticity, and the Case of ‘Shaoxing Wine’”
Discussant: Po-yi Hung

10:30 – 10:45 am coffee break
10:45 – 12:15 pm Victoria Lee (Ohio University) “On Kōji Edibility: Modernism and Nostalgia in the Age of Cancer”
Discussant: Hallam Stevens

Tatsuya Mitsuda (Keio University) “Towards a Nation of Beef Eaters? Fears, Tastes and the Edibility of ‘Fresh’ Meat in Japan, c. 1870-1930”
Discussant: John Wong

1:15 – 2:45 pm Lan Li (Columbia University) “Tip of the Tongue: Tasting 麻 and Claiming the Chemistry of Numbness (1931-1980)”
Discussant: Victoria Lee

Tae-Ho Kim (Chonbuk National University) “Searching for ‘a Refrigerator for Koreans’: (Re)invention of Kimchi Refrigerator in South Korea in the 1990s”
Discussant: Jakob Klein

2:45 – 3:00 pm coffee break
3:00 – 4:30 pm General discussion, future plans


Location Map

Photo Highlights