Manusya, Journal of Humanities


Mizue Miyamoto

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The number of Japanese restaurants in Bangkok has rapidly increased in the previous decade. According to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) (2015:8), there are 2,126 Japanese restaurants in all of Thailand, and twothirds of these are located in Bangkok. The number has been increasing by 20% every year since 2007. The quality is also outstanding. Tazatsu (2008:7) states: "There is Japanese food available which Japanese people feel tasty with the most reasonable price outside Japan". There must be some reasons for this expansion, but most of the existing studies on the Japanese restaurant industry in Thailand focus only on the business perspective. Therefore, this study aims to analyze this phenomenon from sociological points of view related to Thai society. The analysis is based on official statistics, field research and interviews with selected Thai people. It was found that the expansion of the Japanese restaurant industry is highly connected to life style and value transformation of Bangkok people as a result of financial growth and urbanization. Wide integration of Japanese restaurant chains into large shopping malls has enabled Thai people to access Japanese restaurants as part of their daily lives. Moreover, this trend has created a new generation who recognize Japanese restaurants as choices for everyday food instead of ones for special occasions. The Japanese restaurant industry has been increasingly and deeply integrated into Bangkok society.

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