In a 1951 article titled “Creating Savings from a Tight Budget,” The Housewife’s Companion magazine advised women on how to keep their family budgets under control. According to the article, to succeed in this endeavor one needed a kakeibo (household account book): “Writing in your kakeibo every day,” the article read, “is the most important step in living a rational life.” One of the contributors to the article, Fukuda Toshiko, posed an additional challenge to The Housewife’s Companion's readership when she wrote that failing to take nutrition into account when planning her family’s meals caused her to spend too much money while grocery shopping. “Now,” Fukuda wrote, “I put a lot of thought into my family’s nutrition.”
It was no coincidence that a discussion of nutrition appeared in an article devoted to household budgeting. Despite the significance attached to kakeibo by postwar cultural critics, women’s consumerism and economic household management have remained absent from historians’ interpretations of Japan’s postwar cuisine. This paper argues that in 1950s and 1960s Japan, household accounting and nutrition were intimately linked—ideally, families were advised to maintain both a balanced budget and a balanced diet. The kakeibo, therefore, was not merely a budget-keeping book; it was also a meal-planning document. This paper uses kakeibo to examine the postwar Japanese diet from the perspective of consumers.
“Yoyūno nai kakei kara chokin wo umidasu: okusama no yarikuri kufūshū,” Shufu no tomo, December 1951, 177.