October 15, 2016 - April 23, 2017

“Oishii!” – “It’s tasty!” – is the most common word in Japan to signal good taste at the dinner table.

It is an expression that goes hand in hand with the social and cultural identity of the eater. Because food is much more than nutrition in Japan. It is connected with all spheres of human life and provides a view of the most diverse aspects of society.

Against this backdrop, we are devoting a major special exhibition to Japanese food and drink culture. The exhibition focuses on the cultivation of rice and its importance to Japanese society, the “sacred drink” sake, the role of fish, seafood and seaweed, as well as vegetables, noodles and condiments in the kitchen. But also the world of tea traditions (chanoyu and sencha), the culture of the picnic and the bento are taken up.

How have eating habits changed throughout history? What complex technological services are required for the extraction and preparation of food? Who eats what when? The exhibition traces all of these questions, at the same time directing our gaze to a rich material culture and encouraging us to become (more) aware of our own food habits.

On display will be originals from the museum’s own collection ranging from inks to woodcuts to ceramics, including valuable objects that have never been shown before. These are supplemented by loans from Germany and abroad.

Multimedia elements bridge the gap between the historical exhibits and the present and also bring Japanese voices into play.

Children’s activity booklet: With Yuki through the exhibition
Yuki shows you the food and drinks of her home country. She talks about her favorite dishes, why samurai were given rice as food, picnics under cherry blossoms, and the tea ceremony. How to eat with chopsticks? What do you take in the bento? And how did it happen that the fisher boy fell in love with the sea princess? The activity booklet invites you to look closely and solve riddles and tasks – and when you’ve figured everything out, a little surprise awaits you. The campaign booklet was made possible by the Gesellschaft für Erd- und Völkerkunde e.V. and will be handed out to all children free of charge at the cash desk.

Accompanying program
To deepen and complement the exhibition themes, there is a multifaceted program of theme days, lectures, films, festivals and workshops, which also invites visitors to experience Japanese food and drink culture in a sensual way. Among other things, demonstrations of the Japanese tea ceremony and whisky and sake tastings will be offered.
Download program

ed. by Uta Werlich, Inés de Castro, and Toko Shimomura, Stuttgart: Arnoldsche, 2016, 224 pp. Ill., hardcover, EUR 24.90
Link: More information and order [LINK zum Katalog im Shop]

Main sponsor: Trumpf
Media partner: G/Geschichte

Ever since humans discovered and settled the island worlds in the Pacific thousands of years ago, there have been many connections between the widely scattered land areas in the largest sea on earth.


In cooperation with:
Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, China Center Tübingen, HFT Stuttgart

With kind support:

Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Karl Schlecht Stiftung, Tübinger Vereinigung für Volkskunde e.V., Universitätsbund Tübingen e. V., Stiftung Landesbank Baden-Württemberg, Netzwerk transformierender Lehre in Baden-Württemberg, Verein Freunde Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart