Revolution of Beef Consumption in Meiji Era of Japan: The Analysis of Japan Reformation via Linkage Theory

Main Article Content

Surasri Smutkupt


This article is designed to examine a drastic change in Japanese diet by way of the introduction of beef consumption that resulted from social reform during the Meiji period (1868-1912). The objective is to study both the internal and external factors of Meiji Japan that contributed to the inroads of beef consumption to the wider population.

This article is a qualitative research, which comprises the collection of books, articles, textbooks, research papers, and other types of document regarding beef consumption, and the in-depth analysis of the collected data according to the ‘linkage politics’ and discussion.

The external factor of beef consumption among the Japanese is the spread of imperialism in the nineteenth century that led to a surge of western immigration, resultant contacts and interactions with westerners, and the introduction of western consumerism to the Japanese society. 

As for the internal factor in Meiji Japan, there are three main factors: (1) the Meiji Restoration, (2) the socio-political movement initiated by local intellectuals and (3) Meiji Emperor’s acceptance of western culture. They altered the popular perception of beef consumption in the society.

The surge of beef consumption in the Meiji Japan not only contributed to a drastic change in the diet of the Japanese, but also the establishment of the ‘civilized’ state, and a change of the hierarchy of social classes in the Meiji Japan.



Article Details

How to Cite
Smutkupt, S. (2016). Revolution of Beef Consumption in Meiji Era of Japan: The Analysis of Japan Reformation via Linkage Theory. Political Science and Public Administration Journal, 7(2), 1–29. Retrieved from
Research Article


สุรางค์ศรี ตันเสียงสม. (2551). ประวัติศาสตร์ญี่ปุ่นสมัยใหม่. กรุงเทพฯ: สถาบันเอเชียศึกษา จุฬาลงกรณ์มหาวิทยาลัย.

Andressen, C. (2002). A Short History of Japan From Samurai to Sony. Crows Nest NSW: South Wind Productions.

Cortazzi, H. (2012). Victorians in Japan. London: Bloomsbury Publishing plc.

Cwiertka, K. J. (2006). Modern Japanese Cuisine: Food, Power and National Identity. London: Reaktion Books Ltd.

Finlay, M. R. (1995). Early marketing of the theory of nutrition: the science and culture of Liebig's extract of meat. The Science and Culture of Nutrition, p. 48.

Finlay, M. R. (1995). Early Marketing of the Theory of Nutrition: The Science and Culture of Liebig's Extract of Meat. The Science and Culture of Nutrition, p. 48.

Fujitani, T. (1996). Splendid Monarchy. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press.

Gordon, A. (2003). A Modern History of Japan From Tokugawa Times to the Present. New York: Oxford University Press.

Ishige, N. (2014). The History and Culture of Japanese Food. New York: Routledge.

Keene, D. (1956). Modern Japanese Literature: An Anthology. New York.

Keene, D. (2002). Emperor of Japan Meiji and His World, 1852- 1912. New York: Columbia University Press.

Lebra, T. S. (1995). Above the Clouds. Berkeley Los Angeles London: University of California Press.

Library of Congress, W. (2016, January 28). Retrieved from Encyclopedia Britannica:

Meech- Pekarik, J. (1987). The World of the Meiji Print: Impressions of a New Civilization. Newyork and Tokyo: Weatherhill.

Mertz, J. P. (2003). Novel Japan: spaces of nationhood in early Meiji narrative, 1870-88. Ann Arbor, Michigan: U of M Center For Japanese Studies.

Mowat, P. (2009). Meat and Modernity: Changing Perceptions of Beef in the Making of Modern Japan. Cross-sections, The Bruce Hall Academic Journal.

Nishijima, G. W. (1997). Japanese Buddhism and the Meiji Restoration. The American Academy of Religion & Society of Biblical Literature (p. 15). San Francisco, California: Windbell Publications Ltd.

Potteau, J. - P. (2016, January 28). Retrieved from PittRivers Museum:

Reitan, R. M. (2009). Making a Moral Society: Ethics and the State in Meiji Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.

Sundberg, S. (2014- 2016). Retrieved from Old Tokyo Vintage Japanese Postcard Museum:

Yukiji, F. (1973, January). An Outline of a Theory of Civilization. (D. A. Hurst, Trans.) Tokyo: Sophia University Press.