Japan’s Fisheries Agency launches “Fish Day” to promote seafood

Published on
November 17, 2022
The Sakana Day logo.

Japan’s Fisheries Agency has established "Sakana Day," stretching from the third to the seventh day of every month, in an effort to promote seafood consumption.

The campaign kicked off in November with various sales at hundreds of participating retailers. In a press release, the Fisheries Agency said the campaign is meant to increase consumption of marine products amid a long-term downward consumption trend in Japan.

Japan’s annual consumption of seafood peaked at 40.2 kilograms in 2001 and has gradually declined ever since. Seafood was surpassed by meat in per capita consumption in 2006, before a brief recovery in 2007. Then meat again overtook fish in 2008 and the gap has been steadily widening, while seafood consuption had fallen to 23.4 kilograms per capital by 2020.

The name of the new promotion is a play on words. “Sakana” means “fish” in Japanese, and “from three to seven” in Japanese would be “san kara nana,” which can be shortened to “sa-ka-na,” allowing the kanji characters to have a double-meaning.

Such wordplay has been used to promote food in the past. Twenty-nine can be read as "ni-ku" in Japanese, which also means "meat." As a result restaurants and grocery stores have capitalized on the wordplay to have special offers on the 29th day of every month, and in November 2021, Burger King Japan used the day to introduce its Super One Pound Beef Cheeseburger.

So far, the Sakana Day campaign seems to be off to a good start, with a dedicated website, a colorful fish logo inspired by the rainbow colors of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, and a list of 628 cooperating companies and organizations holding events and fairs, offering new products, and conducting other activities related to the promotion of seafood consumption.

Nagoya, Japan-based supermarket operator Aoki Super is offering local fish from Aichi Prefecture. Osaka-based seafood distributor Kyokuyo is sponsoring a fish-cooking recipe contest, and Tokyo-based food processing company House Foods Corporation is offering three new products developed for use with raw fish: “The Creamy,” a series of creams sauces for use with salmon, clams, or shrimp; “Zack Zack,” a series of three spiced breading mixes (garlic, tomato, and mayo-pepper) for fish; and “VegesFish,” a series of fish and vegetables in sauce in retort packs.

A kick-off event for Fish Day will take place at the Fish-1 Grand Prix at Tokyo’s Hibiya Park on Sunday, 27November. Fish-1 Grand Prix is a yearly competition sponsored by the National Fisheries Cooperative highlighting the Fast Fish and Pride Fish programs.  

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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