Saké, Memory, and Identity among Japanese Migrant Communities

Author(s): Douglas Ross

Year: 2014


There is considerable archaeological evidence for alcohol consumption among Japanese migrants in North America. However, among oral histories and other archival sources alcohol is rarely mentioned, and when it is the focus is on imported Japanese saké to the near exclusion of all other beverages. Based on data from an early 20th century salmon cannery in British Columbia, I argue that certain consumer goods that served important social functions in the homeland, including saké, also played an important role in creating and maintaining collective diasporic communities and identities abroad. This role is likely a key factor in the predominance of saké in oral recollections of the past, even though archaeology demonstrates migrants consumed large quantities of a diverse range of alcoholic beverages.

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Saké, Memory, and Identity among Japanese Migrant Communities. Douglas Ross. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437021)

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Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-47,12