This panel explores food’s roles in delineating personal and collective identities in modern and contemporary Japan. Using examples from literature, popular culture, history, and public policy, the panelists analyze the social and symbolic functions of food as an identity marker from the perspectives of nation, gender, and education. We pay particular attention to the power dynamics at work in determining who eats what and for what reasons, and the consequences that these choices have for both individuals and communities of all sizes. Satoko Kakihara examines gendered representations of drinking in the contemporary manga Wakakozake, arguing that the manga doubles down on gender and age stereotypes and hierarchies prevalent in mainstream contemporary Japanese society. Kristina Iwata-Weickgennant unearths the significance of food as a literary expression of identities for zainichi Korean woman authors, showing how “national” foods, variously celebrated and resisted, are part of a symbolic vocabulary indicating the anxieties of writers negotiating their own connections with Korea and Japan. In the context of Cold War international politics and American ideologies of domesticity, Nathan Hopson analyzes the role of the “kitchen cars” (US-funded food demonstration buses), 1956-1960 in transforming the postwar Japanese national diet by promoting “rational” and “scientific” meals based around American farm produce. Stephanie Assmann’s paper traces the historical roots of the Japanese government’s post-2005 shokuiku (“food education”) campaign, revealing the coercive use of diet—controlling national foodways through the educational system—as part of anti-globalist nationalist currents in contemporary Japan. Together, these papers explore food’s functions in constituting and disciplining modern subjects in Japan, not just in the creation of borders and limens but in their transgression.