Shoku-ero: The Irresistible World of Japanese “Food Porn”!!
Have you ever heard of the word “shoku-ero“? The word “shoku (食)” is about food or meal, and “ero (エロ)” is abbreviation for erotic that Japanese use for sexual contents or idea. Combination of these two words “shoku-ero” is a new genre of work created from manga and anime culture. It is less understood still, but its popularity is rising as the number of these works are published. You will clearly understand what “shoku-ero” is by watching or reading the applied stories. In easy words, “shoku-ero” is a category that characters eat food or meal in erotic manner or attitude, and at the same time, their erotic facial expressions are called “meshi no kao“, which spread from one comment on shoku-ero video uploaded on niconico douga. The word itself, we think, derived from Japanese pornographic term “mesu no kao” that describes the expression of female being sexual. Due to the origin of the word, “meshi no kao” only applies to female characters’ look. There are two indications in this look: one is a girl who found extreme happiness and in ecstasies by eating, and second is a girl who irritatingly awaits the sensation of eating caught in a dilemma.
Eating is one of the important context that Japanese people have developed to enjoy with all five senses. Japanese discovered the delight in food that covers the senses of looking at the fine-looking arrangement of food on the dish, listening the delicate sound when cooking and eating, texture and taste when putting a bite in one’ mouth, and smell of the tempted food by just looking at it. This feeling and tendency toward food is a result of traditional Japanese food, which Japanese call “washoku“. Washoku is included on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List due to the high regard on various and fresh ingredient and its natural flavor, nutrient balance that supports healthy diet, expression of nature beauty and transition of the season, and close relationship with annual events like New Years.
To report how good the food is also one of the food culture that Japan created. Turning on Japanese TV channels, which is few in number compared to other countries, mostly any time you can find gourmet report programs or food introducing session on TV programs. Gourmet reporters need power of accurate expression and be rich in vocabulary.
Not just gourmet programs, but also genre of food is popular in manga and anime. Manga, as a paper media, is hard to express the beauty of food and its deliciousness specifically; the better expressing quality the work has, the better it is. However, different from gourmet TV programs in the real world, manga and anime have the same number of ways as the author does in expressing the food and it’s taste to the readers.
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