Global concerns about the rise of obesity and lifestyle-related health conditions have prompted numerous governments in industrial nations to initiate educational campaigns with the objective to improve their citizens’ eating habits. This also applies to Japan where the enactment of the Fundamental Law of Food Education in 2005 led to the launch of a nationwide food education campaign called shokuiku, which is now part of school lunch programs and nutritional guidelines. A closer look at the campaign reveals that shokuiku is a historical concept and needs to be seen in the wider context of culinary politics that sought to enable Japanese citizens to cope with the demands of modernity but also pursued a nationalistic agenda. The early shokuiku teachings viewed food education as part of a holistic educational concept, which stressed self-cultivation, discipline, familial conviviality, an appreciation of local food but also included foreign foodways such as the Chinese noodle soup rāmen. In contrast, the current shokuiku campaign advocates a return to an indigenous - and supposedly healthier - food fare as a way to contain globalization. Through tracing the historical roots of shokuiku, I argue that the revival of this educational concept represents an anti-globalization force that seeks to improve the nation’s dietary habits but simultaneously evokes a strong sense of national identity linked to foodways.