Gender-based Separation of Duties in Japanese and Korean Restaurants

I don’t know how many of you are frequenters of Japanese and Korean restaurants.  In Vancouver, it’s not hard to come across a sushi place.  In fact, sushi places dot the city like lights on a Christmas tree.

However, if you have ever been to some of the more authentic restaurants, there seems to be a certain way that some of these restaurants run.

Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert here.  This is simply my observation.  I have a few favourite Japanese restaurants around town that are run by Japanese folks and I’ve noticed a trend.  The men are often the cooks and work in the kitchen while the women serve the patrons and tend to the cash.

I also noticed this distinct separation of duties at a popular Korean restaurant on Robson Street.  All the men were at the grills and stoves making the food, while the women ran the food about and waited upon the hungry and thirsty.

I’m wondering if this is a traditional way of running these restaurants in Japan and Korea.  Is there a rhyme and reason to this particular separation of duties? Maybe somebody out there can enlighten me here.

If you’re out at a Japanese or Korean restaurant staffed by actual Japanese and Koreans next time, take note and see if they have this separation of duties.  Then enjoy a really great meal.

Itadakimasu! Bon appetit!

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