Honor and Food

As I assume is well known to readers here, in the United States Marine Corps it is a standard that leaders do not eat until their men are fed. This is a point of honor, because honor is sacrifice of your interests for the good of others in your community. The leader occupies a position of honor, which means that when there is a sacrifice to be made, it properly belongs to him to be the one who makes it. The leader sees that those under his command are fed first, and only then takes time -- if there is time -- to eat himself.

So I read with interest this article about an attempt to re-invigorate traditional Japanese foodways, in which the person in the position of honor also has a duty related to the order of the eating of food. It's just that it's the opposite order:
“The principal is the first person to eat lunch,” says Masahiro Oji, director of the Ministry of Education’s School Health Education Division. “If he gets sick none of the rest of the food gets served."
Different practical concerns prompt a different order, but the deeper issue is the same.

1 comment:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Perhaps it is no more than a cultural prejudice, but my thought is that the USMC order is legit and important, the Japanese one is a post hoc excuse that allows the important people to eat first.

I think their history bears me out in this...