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The Soy Sauce Container
Fig 1: Exhibition poster
This fish was once filled with soy sauce, and was part of a bento. Bento, a Japanese-style packed lunch, occupies an essential position in East Asian food culture. Its development led to the manufacturing of a variety of products such as beautifully decorated lacquerware boxes that were used to serve food at outdoor gatherings like cherry blossom viewings. Over the years, bento has become part of everyday fast-food culture. Dishes have been simplified and bento can easily be bought at Japanese convenience stores, supermarkets and restaurants.
Hence, a small portion of soy sauce individually packed in a fish-shaped plastic container has become a standard ingredient in contemporary sushi bento boxes for take-away. Yoshihisa Sawada, an expert in the taxonomy of Japanese insects, researched the diverse different “species” of fish-shaped sauce containers and published the results in his book “Soy Sauce Sea Bream”