Food Manga "On Hold"

One of my favourite manga is Oishinbo, created since the 1980s by a team of writers and food experts that truly inspired me to go out and look for better food, and find out about ingredients and their history. Over a hundred books have been published in this series, as well as a couple of anime films, often with political overtones and relevant to the news of the day.

So I was sad to hear that they had gone overboard in picturing Fukushima as unsafe, when there is little or no evidence to back up that claim, at least for foods from the prefecture that is on sale (seafood and seaweed products from the region are not on sale). In its May 19 edition, many different experts will get to voice their opinion about this issue, according to Asahi:

'Oishinbo' manga on hold after criticism of Fukushima episodes

Chastened editors of the long-running "Oishinbo" manga series agreed to review depictions after scenes about the Fukushima nuclear disaster in recent installments triggered an uproar.
The editors said they accepted criticisms leveled at them particularly with regard to the main character suddenly developing a nosebleed after visiting the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
In another scene, characters based on real-life individuals caution people not to live in Fukushima.
The editors pledged to review the way of depicting scenes in the future.
The installments that caused a fuss were carried in the April 28 and May 12 editions of the weekly Big Comic Spirits, published by Shogakukan Inc.
The Fukushima prefectural government posted on its website a letter of protest addressed to the publisher and its view on the issue. A number of Cabinet ministers also blasted the content.
In the upcoming edition of Big Comic Spirits to be published on May 19, Shogakukan editors in charge of the manga series will run a statement under the title of “the view of the editorial department.”
The statement, according to sources, reads in part, “We sincerely accept the criticisms and severe dressing-down, and will review and discuss the way we present the storyline.”
It also says, “As editor in chief, I feel responsible for upsetting so many people. We received much criticism and protests with regard to the content of the manga.”

There is more to this story and I hope to cover it. Are we really getting all the information about Fukushima? Is this an example of censorship on the rise...?

Meanwhile, enjoy this classic anime episode of Oishinbo where a foreign politician is treated to a Japanese meal in order to try to help him understand the importance of rice in food culture here. You'll get a lesson that ranges from pure sake to pottery, as well as how rice bran is used to preserve fish... Enjoy!


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