Japan’s Dietary Transition and Its Impacts (Food, Health, and the Environment)

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, pages

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Cambridge Journals, Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, Volume 29, Issue 01, March 2014, pp 100-100

ERIC C. RATH, The Journal of Asian Studies, 2013.

" Japan's Dietary Transition and Its Impacts is the most illuminating book about food I have read in some time. Japan achieved dietary affluence in the 20th Century just like many other industrial states, but with intriguing differences. While other wealthy societies now face a crisis of growing obesity, Japan has managed to keep calorie intake under control. And while excessive meat production in other wealthy states brings serious environmental risk to the atmosphere and freshwater, Japan's distinct taste for ocean fish brings environmental risks at sea. The story told by Vaclav Smil and Kazuhiko Kobayashi is fresh, provocative, deeply researched, and constantly surprising." --Robert Paarlberg, Wellesley Colleg

"Japan has experienced a remarkable dietary transition, particularly during the post WWII period. This concise, lucid overview provides an understanding of this transformation while providing insights into reasons this high income country has also achieved the longest life expectancy in the world."--Barry M. Popkin, economist and nutritionist, W. R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"This encyclopedic study explores Japan's multiple dietary transitions since the 19th century in a framework that ranges from food production, import, and consumption across the parameters of trade, income, environment, demography, technology, and geopolitics. Vaclav Smil and Kazuhiko Kobayashi rigorously locate Japan within global food transitions from the 1950s to the 1980s while highlighting such distinctive features as continuing preference for soy, rice and fish and the fact that this rich nation consumes on average 1000 fewer kcals per day than countries of comparable wealth. The study engages contemporary controversies including Japan's heavy international fishing (especially tuna), whaling disputes, the consequence of heavy reliance on food imports, and the nation's declining population and longevity." --Mark Selden, Cornell East Asia Program; Coordinator, The Asia-Pacific Journal