ASMI celebrates herring roe holiday in Japan with contest

Published on
April 21, 2017

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Association (ASMI) has announced a contest in Japan to coincide with a holiday celebrating the country’s food culture on 5 May. 

Kazunoko Day is named after the Japanese word for herring eggs, and the day was set by the Federation of Hokkaido Fishery Products Cooperative Associations to try to pass down and protect Japanese food culture. 

Herring eggs are loved in Japan, but tend to be considered a food ingredient that can only be enjoyed at the New Year, because they are a traditional part of the osechi (New Year’s boxed meal) cuisine – the many eggs symbolizing fecundity. However, in recent years, many varieties of kazunoko have become popularly available, such as unsalted, peeled sashimi-type, and seasoned kazunoko combined with mentaiko (spicy pollock roe). These are easy to handle, so they can be easily used for everyday side dishes.

The fifth of May is also “Children's Day," when Japanese fly carp wind socks and display samurai helmets to wish for their children's healthy growth, so the lucky symbolism of the many eggs comes into play again.

In its contest, ASMI is looking for easy-to-follow instructions for preparing herring roe, such as to put it in potato salad, or to put herring roe on white fish.

People who want to apply for ASMI’s Excellence Award for a kazunoko eating idea are encouraged to e-mail their idea with the name of the dish and description of the idea in text and a photo to ASMI’s representative in Japan ([email protected]) between 28 April and 12 May, 2017.

The contest will award three winners with an Excellence Award, along with a seafood assortment set from Alaska. The winners will be announced on ASMI’s Japanese website (

Contributing Editor reporting from Osaka, Japan

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