Japanese TV spotlights third-wave fishcake

Published on
December 22, 2017

A popular Japanese television program, TV Asahi’s Morning Show, featured “third-wave kamaboko” on 13 December. 

“Kamaboko” is Japanese for fishcake. The product is “Sushikama” – fishcake formed and colored to resemble sushi items. The maker, Kawachiya, based in Uojimachi, Toyama Prefecture, was the first to develop the product. 

Local fishcake makers in Japan used to be differentiated by the types of fish they used, but following a shift to general use of Alaska pollock surimi for raw material, fishcake became a commodity, with severe price competition. Hoping to differentiate its products, the company developed sushi wrapped in kelp, as well as “art kamaboko” in the shapes of sea bream, cranes, and tortoises. It later went on to make Sushikama. They obtained process patents for their method in 1985, and registered the name “Sushikama.” 

They are sold online and shipped by refrigerated parcel delivery. They are also sold in the company’s own shops in Toyama Prefecture. Several sets are offered. They are in the shape of pressed sushi that can be cut into pieces, rather than “nigiri” (hand-formed). One set including 10 sushi blocks includes: two conger eel, one yellowtail, two salmon, one halfbeak, one ivory shell (Babylon shell), one crab guts, one Japanese eel, and one sweet shrimp. Other popular flavors are sea urchin, sea bream, and abalone.

While Kawachiya now has a few imitators, Sushikama is not yet well-known amongst the Japanese populace, so the television show will give the company a boost. Following the TV segment, the company had to make an emergency announcement on its website that its online store was sold out until after the holidays.

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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