Coffee has been a beverage of significance in Japan since it was first brought to Japan by Portuguese and Dutch traders in the 17th century. It configured social and personal spaces from the late 19th century, well before the current boom in specialty coffee. These cafes and kissaten witness social change and change in taste and culture; their histories reflect Japan’s own, and global transformations as well. One such change is in the nature of work, the work lives of customers as well as work in cafes and in coffee itself.
This talk also reflects on the writing of the book, Coffee Life in Japan, changes since it was written, and the June 2018 publication of the Japanese language edition of the work.
A coffee tasting, courtesy of Hatch Coffee, will take place before the event at 6:00pm.
Registration is now closed. We thank everyone for their interest. Rush seating MAY be available on the day of the event.
Merry White received her A.B. in Anthropology, A.M. in Comparative Literature, and PhD in Sociology from Harvard University where she also taught and administered programs in education and East Asian Studies. In 1987 she began teaching at Boston University in the Department of Anthropology. She has also been a food professional and journalist. Her research areas include family and social policy, education and food anthropology. Her books include studies of Japanese families, of Japanese adolescents and of Japan’s schools. Helping to establish a coffee growing cooperative in Northeast Cambodia, she also helped export beans to Japan, and to create conduits for charitable giving related to this project. Recently, she co-curated an exhibition of Japanese cooking utensils, “Objects of Use and Beauty: Japanese Culinary Tools,” at the Fuller Craft Museum near Boston.