Artwork No. sm04
THE FOOD CLUB
THE FOOD CLUB / باشگاه غذا / フードクラブ - a project within Setouchi Triennale 2019, that is exploring the possibilities of creating Japanese-Iranian food, using different imported Iranian and local Japanese ingredients. The food experiments will be cooked in relation to a very particular immigration history:
The number of Iranians in Japan began to increase significantly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Iran, by that time, had suffered significantly from the economic consequences of the 1979 revolution and the long years of the Iran-Iraq war.
A large number of Iranian youth, mostly male and unemployed, left Iran for Japan hoping to find high-paying jobs at the outset – and for the duration – of the bubble economy: they were able to enter and exit Japan freely thanks to a mutual visa exemption agreement between Japan and Iran. However, in 1992, prompted by worsening economic conditions, Japan terminated this visa-free agreement with Iran, and began serious efforts to deport illegal overstayers.
The total size of the Iranian population would shrink dramatically over the following decade and the stereotype of the Iranian immigrant would become linked with illegal immigration, drug dealing and smuggling. After 1992 the number of new migrants remained significantly smaller compared to the number of deportations that occurred. Nowadays, due to strict immigration laws in Japan, it is almost non-existing.
Remembering and connecting to this history, THE FOOD CLUB/ باشگاه غذا / フードクラブ is asking:
What possible Iranian-Japanese culinary treats were lost due to these circumstances? Can we catch up on the losses now? What Iranian-Japanese (food)futures can we imagine? Can we re-write Japanese immigration policies in an alternative cookbook?