Asia at the Crossroads: Conversations on Food, Politics, and Culture

Haruko Satoh in Conversation with Daisuke Utagawa

Born in Karachi, British and US educated Japanese IR scholar, Haruko Satoh, is in conversation with Washington-based, Japanese trained sushi chef and restaurateur, Daisuke Utagawa. Using the conference theme, “Asia at the Crossroads”, they explore how food becomes a conduit that connects peoples and societies in ways conventional diplomacy between countries cannot. From eating a multi-course Kaiseki dinner to Hakwer Centre stalls, state leaders and people digest the culture, history, and politics of other countries. Food is a boundary-traversing language that shapes our understanding of and relationship with the world.

Like other forms of cultural diplomacy, culinary diplomacy requires skills and knowledge of chefs and food experts who communicate their own country’s history and culture through gastronomy. To Utagawa, the essence of Japanese cuisine, the attention to detail, the near-obsession with particulars and perfection (kodawari), is informed by Japan’s history of isolation. But he also believes that there is global value to Japanese food beyond satisfying the world’s esoteric and parochial interests in Japan, a point that has been under-appreciated by the Japanese themselves.

Daisuke Utagawa is the co-presenter of the Taste of Japan (Rudy Maxa’s World Series 2017), a series of three films which first aired on PBS. These are being made available to delegates of the AAS-in-Asia 2020 Conference for the duration of the event.

Daisuke Utagawa

Sushiko, United States

Born in Tokyo, Daisuke Utagawa first came to Washington, D.C. with his father in 1969 where he attended school in Bethesda, Maryland. Utagawa returned to Japan in 1972 to finish his education, and began an apprenticeship in 1980 where he learned the art of traditional Japanese culinary technique from a master chef. In 1983, Utagawa returned to D.C. and started working as a sushi chef at the original Sushiko before purchasing the restaurant in 1988. Utagawa has since spent many years studying the “Cuisine of Subtraction” and, as the Creative Director, applies what he’s learned to Sushiko’s entire experience. Now a US citizen, Utagawa lives in D.C. with his wife and children and continues his work as a renowned restaurateur with Sushiko and his recently opened ramen shop and izakaya, Daikaya.

Haruko Satoh

Osaka University, Japan

Haruko Satoh is Specially Appointed Professor at the Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP), where she teaches Japan’s relations with Asia and identity in international relations. She is also co-director of the OSIPP-IAFOR Research Centre and she was previously part of the MEXT Reinventing Japan project on “Peace and Human Security in Asia (PAHSA)” with six Southeast Asian and four Japanese universities.

In the past she has worked at the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Chatham House, and Gaiko Forum. Her interests are primarily in state theory, Japanese nationalism and identity politics. Recent publications include: “China in Japan’s Nation-state Identity” in James DJ Brown & Jeff Kingston (eds) Japan’s Foreign Relations in Asia (Routledge, 2018); “Japan’s ‘Postmodern’ Possibility with China: A View from Kansai” in Lam Peng Er (ed), China-Japan Relations in the 21st Century (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017); “Rethinking Security in Japan: In Search of a Post-‘Postwar’ Narrative” in Jain & Lam (Eds.), Japan’s Strategic Challenges in a Changing Regional Environment (World Scientific, 2012); “Through the Looking-glass: China’s Rise as Seen from Japan”, (co-authored with Toshiya Hoshino), Journal of Asian Public Policy, 5(2), 181–198, (July 2012); “Post- 3.11 Japan: A Matter of Restoring Trust?”, ISPI Analysis No. 83 (December 2011); “Legitimacy Deficit in Japan: The Road to True Popular Sovereignty” in Kane, Loy & Patapan (Eds.), Political Legitimacy in Asia: New Leadership Challenges (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), “Japan: Re-engaging with China Meaningfully” in Tang, Li & Acharya (eds), Living with China: Regional States and China through Crises and Turning Points, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009).

Professor Satoh is a member of IAFOR’s Academic Governing Board. She is Chair of the Politics, Law & International Relations section of the International Academic Advisory Board.

Taste of Japan (Tokyo)

Taste of Japan (Hokkaido)

Taste of Japan (Kyushu)

When: Thursday, September 3, 11:30-12:30
Location: Main Room

Cultural Events

A Virtual Museum Visit of the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of Art
Joseph Haldane in Conversation with Yutaka Mino

Zen Buddhism and Well-being
Reverend Takafumi Kawakami | Shunkoin Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Taste Washoku to Unveil Japanese Society: Encountering with Wagyu and Matcha
Kae Sekine | Aichi Gakuin University, Japan

Kobe: Japan’s Culinary Melting Pot
Aiko Tanaka | Osaka Shoin Women’s High School and University, Japan

Haiku Workshop
Emiko Miyashita & Hana Fujimoto | Haiku International Association

Asia at the Crossroads: Conversations on Food, Politics, and Culture
Haruko Satoh in Conversation with Daisuke Utagawa

Wadaiko Performance
AIE International High School