Getting to know…. Takeshi Matsui

Profiles

A new series introducing the Visiting Scholars & Fellows in residence at HYI this year

Takeshi Matsui (Graduate School of Business Administration, Hitotsubashi University)
HYI Visiting Scholar, 2022-23
“A Historical Analysis of De-ethnicization of Japanese Cuisine in the US”

What got you interested in your research topic/field?
I have been interested in how foreign/exotic things are introduced and accepted in different cultural settings. As a marketing professor with a background in sociological theories, my curiosity goes to exported cultural products. That’s why I studied the local adaptation of Japanese comics (manga) in the US, and my current research topic is the evolution of Japanese cuisine in the US. In high school, I read a book titled Made in Japan (1988) by Akio Morita, who co-founded Sony, and learned about the hardships of selling Sony products in overseas markets. If even electrical products struggle to overcome cultural barriers, there must be even more in promoting more cultural products like comics and food abroad. I am now listening to the curious stories of people in the Japanese cuisine industry here about their challenges to overcome such difficulties.

Outside of work, where can we find you? 
I sometimes run the Charles River, as novelist Haruki Murakami did. This river shows me a different charm in each season. I love to cook, so I also frequent H Mart and Whole Foods Market. I also like to have lunch at dim sum restaurants in Chinatown after my weekend jogging; Food Opera and Empire Garden Restaurant are two of my favorites. I want to explore local microbreweries; my favorite so far is Democracy Brewing, which is very Boston-like.

What would you want to do most as a career if you were not in academia?
I was in the broadcasting club from elementary school through high school. My friends and I produced radio programs broadcast at school lunchtime. In the future, I hoped to join NHK (Japanese BBC) and make documentaries. So even after I joined academia, I presented a film like this at the conference.

Read Prof. Matsui’s bio on our website.

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