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Obentō Talks: Women’s Use of Social Media to Communicate in Japanese Food Culture

  • Author / Creator
    Funabashi, Eric
  • Bento is not just a meal in Japan. Immersed in Japanese food culture, the ready-to-eat lunch box has more cultural than edible functions as it symbolizes a governmental ideology that attempts to portray Japanese women’s lives as wives and mothers. Additionally, bento has become an important tool for women’s communication allowing the exchange of messages between maker and eater through food arrangement and color balance. Due to the development of internet technology, bento has reached the virtual world as a theme for personal webpages where Japanese women are interacting with other people, engaging in conversations and exchanging opinions and feelings. This study investigates Japanese women’s motivation in using bento as a theme for such communication and self-expression in social media. Based on an analysis of personal webpage rankings and work from previous scholarship, this study first presents Japanese women’s interaction in virtual platforms as well as their relation to bento within Japanese society. Then, in order to focus on Japanese women’s opinion regarding bento-making and the use of social media to express opinions and communicate with an audience, an investigation was conducted with Japanese women using an online survey and a qualitative questionnaire. The investigation tools were developed to investigate participants’ opinions on specific questions, as well as to provide examples and details regarding such opinions. Notably, the results of this investigation not only reveals Japanese women’s motivation in making bento and interacting online, but also reasons why personal webpages and online interaction proved to be a good fit for Japanese women’s desire for communication and expression in social media.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2016-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3KP7V279
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Department of East Asian Studies
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Adolphson, Mikael (East Asian Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Zivkovic, Marko (Anthropology)
    • Adolphson, Mikael (East Asian Studies)
    • Commons, Anne (East Asian Studies)