|This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (November 2013)|
Nyotaimori (女体盛り?, "serve (foods) on the female body"), often referred to as "body sushi", is the Japanese practice of serving sashimi or sushi from the naked body of a woman. Nantaimori (男体盛り?) refers to the same practice using a male model. The Japanese practice of nyotaimori – serving sushi on a naked body – is said to have its origins in the samurai period in Japan. In the words of chef Mike Keenan, "The naked sushi idea began during the samurai period in Japan. It was a subculture to the geishas. It would take place in a geisha house as a celebration after a victorious battle."
Before becoming a living sushi platter, the person (usually a woman) is trained to lie down for hours without moving. She or he must also be able to withstand the prolonged exposure to the cold food. Before service, the individual is supposed to have taken a bath using a special fragrance-free soap and then finished off with a splash of cold water to chill the body down somewhat for the sushi. In some parts of the world, in order to comply with sanitation laws, there must be a layer of plastic or other material between the sushi and the body of the woman or man.
In traditional nyotaimori, the model is generally expected to lie still at all times and not talk with guests. The sushi itself is placed on sanitized leaves on the model's body, to prevent skin-to-fish contact. Apparently, the challenge is finding sufficiently flat areas of the body so the sushi doesn't just roll off. Nyotaimori is considered an art form. A woman is trained to lie down for hours without moving and withstand the prolonged exposure to the cold sushi. Before service, the individual takes a bath using a special fragrance-free soap and then finished off with a splash of cold water to chill the body down for the sushi.
Usually champagne and sake are served in naked sushi restaurants. Guests must be respectful and observe the strictest decorum. Talking with the models is highly discouraged. Inappropriate gestures or comments are not tolerated and diners can only pick up sushi with chopsticks, although rules in some restaurants are less strict. For example, in some restaurants guests can nibble nori rolls off nipples if they choose.
According to chef Mike Keenan, when it comes to Naked Sushi rules, women are the ones who break them. "I did an event where a girl walked up and licked the model. Women are probably worse because they're thinking they have all the same parts and they can do, whatever."
||This section may lend undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or controversies. (April 2015)|
Some feminists[who?] argue that it objectifies the woman doing the serving. Guardian columnist Julie Bindel notes that the woman being used to serve the food, on at least one occasion in London, looked "as if in a morgue, awaiting a postmortem." It has been described as decadent, humiliating, cruel, and objectifying.
The practice has received popularity in Japanese organized crime.
South African entrepreneur Kenny Kunene's birthday party on 21 October 2010 that hosted ANCYL president Julius Malema and featured nyotaimori was criticised by COSATU secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi, leading to a political row. The ANCWL condemned nyotaimori at Kunene's party as an attack on the bodily integrity and dignity of women in South Africa.
- Bindel, Julie (12 February 2010). "I am about to eat sushi off a naked woman's body". The Guardian.
- "Naked Sushi Makes Waves in Vancouver", Inside Vancouver, Sept 6 2014.
- "Naked Sushi: Eat but don't touch the plate", Vancouver Sun, 30 August 2014.
- "Your Fantasy Of Eating Sushi Off A Naked Woman In Vancouver Is Now A Reality", SuperVancouver
- "Naked ambition: Diners pay $500 to eat sushi off NUDE MODELS at Florida restaurant" Daily Mail, 6 August 2012.
- "Naked Sushi Now in Vancouver", VanCity Buzz, 28 August 2014.
- Bindel, Julie. "'I am about to eat sushi off a naked woman's body'", The Guardian, Friday 12 February 2010.
- Vipers, Gareth (1 June 2010). "The world's weirdest dining experiences". The Independent. p. 4.
- Strong, Jeremy (2011). "A Short Poetics of Cruel Food". Educated Tastes: Food, Drink, and Connoisseur Culture. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 168–189. ISBN 9780803219359.
- Roberts, Christine (5 August 2012). "Nipples covered in wasabi? Sure! Florida patrons willing to drop at least $500 can have sushi served on prone body of nude model". New York Daily News.
- Malema Eats Sushi With Kenny, Zalebs
- Vavi's Sushi War Hots Up, The Sowetan, 29 October 2010
- COSATU Deputy Lashes Kunene, The Sowetan, 1 November 2010
- A chat with 'Sushi King', Tonight, 6 February 2011
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