Sushi or Duty?

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a documentary about a famous sushi chef and his son. Since Jiro is a perfectionist, his eldest son, Yoshikazu, struggles to live up to his father’s name. This documentary shows Jiro’s passion for sushi making, the fish depopulation, Japanese culture, and family dynamics in Japan.  Jiro teaches the lesson that you must fall in love with your work and to love your work. The film was beautifully shot with plenty of slow motion scenes of the mouth watering sushi. At the end of the film, Jiro is asked if Yoshikazu is fit to take over the family business and Jiro says “He just needs to keep it up for the rest of his life.” I enjoyed the film but Jiro’s response made me question if Yoshikazu actually wanted to take over the family business. Did it ever cross his mind to question what else he could do? Japanese culture values company loyalty so I am assuming that Yoshikazu’s entire life was dedicated to his families business. I think he was socially constructed to think that he MUST take over for his father. In Japan, when someone is employed it is uncommon for them to change companies even if another company offers them a higher salary or position. People are looked down upon if they switch companies. The film was very inspiring by showing Jiro’s love and dedication for sushi making but it also made me question loyalty in Japanese culture. What if Yoshikazu never wanted to take over the family business but was pressured into thinking it was his duty to because of Japanese culture????

Writing Two | Assignment #1

Works Cited

Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Dir. David Gelb. Perf. Jiro Ono and Yoshikazu Ono. Magnolia Pictures, 2011. Film.

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2 thoughts on “Sushi or Duty?

  1. Wow. I thought for some reason the blog assignment was supposed to cover Jinro Dreams of Sushi specifically. I guess I wasn’t paying attention in class. Anyways, I liked how you focused on the theme of social construction through the context of authentic sushi in Japan. It is interesting that Korean culture, in some ways, have the same brand loyalty than that of the Japanese. Under Japanese and Korean culture, familial ties are critical to the sustainability of the family because sustainability represents longevity: a social construction asian households like to maintain and keep.

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  2. I love sushi and I have some understanding on Japanese culture. As far as I know, people in Japan really stick on their family business and the business often last for centuries. In this case, I think there will only be two results. First, Yoshikazu will take over Jiro’s restaurant and keep it moving. And the other result will be that Yoshikazu don’t like making sushi as his father did and their family business will end in a few years. In the ancient times, fathers were always hoping their sons can take over their progress and do a better job. But now it is a much open society and many rules and conventions have changed. Although Japan is a very traditional country and Japanese people are always loyal to their cultures, we can not use social construction to determine whether a son will follow his father’s footstep.

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