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6.4 Glocalisation of McDonald's: Translation with Displacement of Global Fast-Food Culture

An-pan and hamburger have something in common in the sense that they both were customised as per local tastes and started a new food culture in Japan, but politicaleconomic surroundings around these food items are different. According to historical political economy of their times, emphases are put differently on Wakon-yōsai (Japanese spirit with Western learning) for an-pan and Yōsai-Wakon (Western learning with Japanese spirit) for Japanese hamburger, which is to be described later. In the first place, bread was strange food for ordinary people at the beginning of Meiji era and was not accepted at all when it appeared. In addition, it was actually introduced by a single Japanese entrepreneur. In contrast, hamburger was made with bread which had been popular already for a long period of time and also with beef which was relieved from the food taboo a century ago by the introduction of aforementioned gyū-nabe. It was certain that the form of hamburger was foreign to Japanese people, but its strangeness was not like when bread appeared in Japanese popular food scene for the first time. Moreover, American things being regarded as symbols of richness and modernity attracted topicality of media and with the moderate cultural difference of hamburger had potential for being accepted by Japanese people. Referring to actors who introduced things foreign, an-pan was spread widely by a single actor Kimura Yasubei, while a main actor that spread hamburger in Japanese society was McDonald's Japan led by Den Fujita, a Japanese agent for an American multinational corporation, McDonald's.

In this way, globalisation has proceeded in the form of diffusion of things foreign as information and symbols. At the same time, however, processes of globalisation have been accompanied by simultaneous process of localisation in various ways (Watson 2006). The analysis will focus on what sort of phenomenon is observed in the simultaneous processes of both globalisation and localisation in the local space of interface. Setting Japanese society as a local unit, the question is to seek what influences and consequences a global American multinational corporation has exerted on Japanese society.

What sorts of responses have been taken by Japanese society to the influx of foods provided by the global fast-food enterprise? A product as one of the consequent responses of the local society to it is the well-known teriyaki Mcburger. As mentioned above, setting the level of a nation as local, the same phenomenon is observed in other countries in East and Southeast Asia (and almost all countries in the world). Various local hamburger menus are invented and developed in each of these countries depending on the taste of traditional foods of a nation. Moreover, the menus of McDonald's restaurants in each country are related continually to each other and influenced interactively. For example, teriyaki Mcburger is one of the popular menus in these countries, but the taste is slightly different in each country. Teriyaki Mcburger in Taiwan and Malaysia were produced as derivative products after Japanese meat foods with Teriyaki sauce had been introduced in these societies. Their tastes are arranged for the local people of these countries and a little different from the original Japanese Teriyaki Mcburger. As a process of globalisation, McDonald's hamburger has become popular, and as a process of glocalisation, McDonald's Japan has created Teriyaki Mcburger, and as a process of step globalisation, it was introduced into Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand. There, Teriyaki Mcburger was renamed Shogun burger or Samurai burger, but with a somewhat changed taste, which is interpreted as step glocalisation. This menu, peculiarly developed locally in Japan, has been adopted widely in other countries, and, as a further step, its taste has been localised to fit to the liking of local consumers. This finely shows that multilayered processes of both globalisation and localisation coexist and are nested as a related process of glocalisation.

Further, at the lower, local level than a nation, the naming of McDonald's is differentiated as Mac and Makudo, according to the areas of Kantō (area around Tokyo) and Kansai (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and adjacent area). The habitual translation and displacement is practised also in the areas within Japan. The series of phenomena mentioned above are understood as typical derivative processes of glocalisation.

It is also important to observe a reverse process of globalisation, which might be named reverse globalisation as a further extension of globalisation. 7-Eleven, like McDonald's, is also an American style business operation and its convenience stores are common in Japanese society. The training system of 7-Eleven Japan has been evaluated highly by the US headquarters of 7-Eleven and introduced also in the US setup. The extended globalisation is proceeded in the opposite direction of usual ones, showing a nested and complicated multilayered process as a whole.

Setting aside Big Mac, cheese burger and plain burger which can be regarded as global standard McDonald's hamburgers, specific menus of McDonald's of various countries like Teriyaki Mcburger have been the products of sequential local translation of the global products, which means displacing the global by the local.

 
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