Japanese Mothers And Obento The Lunch Box Summary

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The article that I have chose to focus on was Anne Allison's “Japanese Mothers and Obentōs: The Lunch Box as Ideological State Apparatus.” In this article, Allison discusses the importance and cultural significance of the obento for Japanese mothers and their children, as well as it being a form of manipulation that forces those mothers into gendered roles. An obento is a small boxed lunch made every morning by Japanese mothers for their children that went to nursery school. It is delicately crafted by the mother to express creativity and her own individual identity. Allison made these obentos for her son, and through that year long process she was able to conclude that the government and school systems used these lunch boxes to control social values and standards. As the way the obento is constructed with such precision, so must the creator and consumer carry out the same precision into the world; the creator being the mother and the consumer being the child. The obento is meant to help the mother and child become better Japanese people. According to Allison, in Japanese society the role of motherhood is thoroughly judged by the child's success, and of that success includes comes eating the obento. From this the child also proves his or her obedience to the nursery school. To Allison, this is a form of manipulation because it forces the mothers into gendered roles where they must devote…show more content…
This article by Anne Allison does a good job with explaining that obentos serve a much greater impact than simply feeding the child. I found it interesting that in the Japanese culture, the obento represented the importance of obedience and prepares them for an important part of their lives; heading out into the outside sphere. Allison states that the entry into the nursery school marks a transition both away from home and into the “real world” (Allison

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