RAS Lecture: HK and the Rice Cooker, 4th June 2014

Eric Spain has sent a reminder about the following:

HK Royal Asiatic Society Lecture, Hong Kong and the Rice Cooker: An Oral History

 Wednesday • 4 June 2014

The rice cooker was possibly the first “Made in Japan” product to be embraced by the people of Hong Kong. In the 1960s, it was a symbol of modern lifestyle in the territory. The rice cooker was invented in Japan by Toshiba in 1955, with the aim of cooking rice conveniently and consistently. As early as 1960, National (now Panasonic) began to develop an Asian version of the Japanese original, in collaboration with a Hong Kong Chinese entrepreneur, the late William Mong Man-wai (1927-2010).

The tiny colony was the place where National first established its know-how for developing products that would appeal to international consumers, long before the process of “localization” acquired its name. Based on oral history interviews, this talk looks into the process by which the National rice cooker was first localized and then globalized.

The Speaker

Yoshiko Nakano is an Associate Professor in the Department of Japanese Studies at the University of Hong Kong where she teaches intercultural communication, globalization, and media. When she came to Hong Kong in 1997, having grown up in Japan and spent a decade in the US, she was struck by one thing: the proliferation of things Japanese.

So using the rice cooker as an example, she began looking into the globalization of “Made in Japan” products and Hong Kong’s role in the transnational process. The resulting book is Where There Are Asians, There Are Rice Cookers: How “National” Went Global via Hong Kong (HKU Press 2009).

Speaker:            Dr Yoshiko Nakano

Date/Time:       Wednesday, 4 June 2014. Reception opens 6pm, talk commences 6.30pm
Venue:                8/F, Extension Services Room, City Hall High Block

Admission:       Free.   Seating:  First come-first served.

See: http://www.royalasiaticsociety.org.hk/

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