The video ‘Gangnam style’ has swept the globe as a Youtube sensation that demands a high level of attention by its flashy images and catchy tune. Not only do we associate the song and video with Korea because it is, in fact, a Korean song, but the association also derives from the saturated images that collide on the screen. However, we often ignore the presence and importance of these visual images within anthropology and their power to drive globalization.
Bestor discusses the ‘cultural images’ of the path of sushi and how these images shaped ‘the ability of fishers today to visualize Japanese culture and the place of tuna within its culinary tradition’ (113). I would argue that this visualization is not limited to fishers. In fact, it is available to everyone involved in the sushi industry, sushi consumers, and people around the world. Images appear and collide from the docks of fishing ports, to markets where tuna is sold, to the restaurants which specialize in sushi creations. I am not dismissing the role of economic and strictly cultural factors which propel sushi around the world. On the contrary, I challenge us to examine closely the implications of visuals and their ability to constantly appear and reappear, allowing the product and its affiliates to be globally ingrained in minds and stomachs alike.