Talk:History of sushi

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Please cite sources[edit]

Looks like there's a lot of interested people with a lot of good information out there.

However. One of the fundamental guidelines of contributing to the Wikipedia is to cite your sources.

Please.

Who knows: you might learn something new. :-)

DanielVonEhren 02:09, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

New article[edit]

I've just split the Sushi article in two by separating its History section into a separate article (this one).

The initial words are a simple cut-and-paste from the sub-sections on the Sushi page. This means that at the moment this is a poorly structured article: no real introduction, no context, and therefore no clear flow. I intend to rectify that over the next few days, but if anybody want to beat me to it, please do.

DanielVonEhren 16:33, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

This little note may be a little unnecessary, but I want to say that I'm really happy are adding to this article (except the parts about rat urine). The new information going in here is great.
DanielVonEhren 20:45, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Hi this is Charles from Japan. This is an interesting article, and I dont want to seem too critical, but I think the claim that sushi originated in China is absurd. Someone appears to have done some digging to come up with all these old Chinese characters, but none of it is explained, except that none of them refer to what we know of as sushi - which, as the second part shows, was clearly developed in Japan. The Chinese had nothing to do with the development of sushi, for Pete's sake.

Why can't the Japanese be given credit for their own national dish? Everything here didn't originate in China, you know. Yes, ramen originated in China. Sushi originated in Japan and it's unfair to the Japanese to say otherwise.

Finally, the standard Romanization for ?? is ritsuryô. You're using an outdated system. So, take my adivce and dump the whole first section on China, clean up the romanization, dispense with all the fancy characters that have nothing to do with the subject, and give credit where credit is due.

Hi Charles. You should give yourself an account and sign in. :-)
As to your comment "Take my advice and dump the whole first section...": While your idea might be a little extreme, you should be bold. Go forth and snip away (we can always revert). :-) :-)
DanielVonEhren 20:59, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I have little expertise on the subject, but I have to be critical of this article as well; it's entire point seems to be to claim a Chinese origin for sushi. Sushi refers to a wide range of dishes in Japan, and similarly prepared rice-and-fish dishes have a history in Southern Korea as well (and probably the coastal regions of China). But the most important developments that led to the sushi we know today all took place in Japan--and many of them fairly recently.
The analysis of old Chinese characters often amount to little more than folk etymology, and should be used with caution. Overall, I am suspicious that parts of this article might have been written with a predetermined conclusion and the "everything originates from China" mentality. Perhaps the best solution might be to add that similar dishes were prepared in Japan's coastal neighbours as well, while being careful to pronounce any definite claims that the idea originated in one of those places. --Iceager 00:43, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)

These old characters prove nothing. Equating the language to the characters used to write it is a common fallacy in the Orient. The problem is that the Japanese often took Chinese characters and applied them to something different from the original item. This was one way of adapting the Chinese writing system to write their own language. (In other cases they made up their own characters, or just took characters for their sound). It does look like someone Chinese has come up with a new way of claiming that everything originated in China.

Bathrobe 4 April

Well, well, it looks as though this was not written by a Chinese history megalomaniac but by a European! In fact, the soberest reaction (see further down) comes from a Chinese who expresses surprise at the statement that sushi was invented in China and requests evidence showing that the Japanese actually imported "鮨" and gradually improvised it. Toytoy has also clarified the fact that the characters used don't actually prove anything. I heartily agree with the overall thrust of Toytoy's rewriting of the article.

Bathrobe 4 April

Believe it or not, fishermen eat raw fish on the sea is ancient and almost global. However, even in most harbour cities, without the fast delivery infrastructure, no one dares to eat raw fish. The Japanese taste of raw fish is therefore unique. Chinese fishermen also eat raw fish. But those of us who are not living by the sea eat only cooked fish before the invention of refrigeration. People living by lakes or rivers may enjoy fresh freshwater fish. However, you don't want to eat them raw because these fish are known to contain parasites. I am Chinese. As far as I know, some costal people in China and Korea do enjoy raw fish but they are not mainstream. -- Toytoy 03:04, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

Transliterations[edit]

It would be helpful if articles would provide transliterations of terms in non-Western scripts would provide transliterations. Either Wade-Giles or Pinyin will do - but do indicate which. Septentrionalis 20:00, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Hi Pmanderson. Can you help with the transliterations? I myself am utterly clueless on Japanese; I could use help with quite a lot of translations, transliterations, and looking-up-of-glyphs. I don't put them in here or elsewhere because I don't have the knowledge.
DanielVonEhren 20:59, 3 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I'm not a Sinologist; that's why I would like transcriptions. If I had the skills to do them myself, I would have. Septentrionalis 02:41, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I think the chinese and japanese characters are interesting, but make the article very hard to read. Can we go for simplicity? Sniffandgrowl 00:53, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I don't know if you shall use transliteration. These words were used over 2000 years ago. Their pronounciations were totally different from today's. -- Toytoy 00:55, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
Does precision of the translation matter to the English reader? I think we should go for neccessity. Interesting as it may be, attempting to preserve the original flavor of the terminology is having a confusing effect on the flow of the article. Sniffandgrowl 01:29, 4 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I see that these are Han texts; but in discussing other Han texts, and even the Five Classics, it is usual, meaningful, and helpful, to give the modern transliteration, with a cross-reference to Karlgren where necessary. Septentrionalis 02:41, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

The fish-themed mug[edit]

Can anyone take a picture of the mug filled with Kanji letters with the fish radical? In Japan, some sushi restaurants are using this kind of mug.

  • The "fish" radical: 魚 (usually placed on the left side of a word at half-width)
  • Words with the fish radical: 鱔, 鯉, 鱖, 鯖, 鮪, 鯽, ... (dozens of them; fish names; many are obsolete today)

These mugs are educational. Most educated Japanese cannot read, possibly, 50% of the word -- Toytoy 00:55, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for this interesting article[edit]

I ran across this interesting article when I was looking up something else. I was attracted by the claim that sushi originated from China, which I heard for the first time. The only other origin place for sushi that I heard before is Korea.

Firstly, I need to disclose that I am a Chinese. I am having hard time in linking "鮨" with sushi. Could the author clarify his rationale that "鮨" was the early version of sushi? Similarity is not good enough. For example, we can find things similar to hamburg exisiting long time ago in China, but it would be very difficult to argue that hamburg originated from China. To support the Chinese origin claim, evidence of showing that the Japanese actually imported "鮨" and gradually improvised it is needed. There have been all kinds of exchange among Chinese, Koreans and Japanese for thousands of years. The mutual influence is abundant. It would not be surprising to find similarities among things from these countries. Invention never starts from complete scratch.

I look forward to learning more history of sushi, but I couldn’t care for less which people actually invented it.

--Hong 01:00, 2005 Apr 4 (UTC) MA, USA

The edomae sushi (江戶前寿司; Tokyo-styled sushi; fish on top of rice) is generally recognized as invented by Hanaya Yohei (華屋与兵衛; 1799 - 1858) at the end of Edo period (http://homepage3.nifty.com/maryy/eng/yohei.htm). The umbrella term sushi has been used to describe multiple kinds of food over ages. Many foods in Japan are still called whatever-sushi today. However, there's usually only one kind of sushi outside Japan.
The sound sushi can be written in Japanese in at least four ways:
  • 寿司: Kanji; totally unrelated with Chinese language; used in Chinese speaking world "壽司" (traditional Chinese) or "寿司" (simplified Chinese)
  • 鮨: Kanji; Chinese-related; not used by Chinese speakers
  • 鮓: Kanji; Chinese-related; not used by Chinese speakers
  • すし: hiragana; Japanese phonetic syllabary
The two Chinese words were borrowed as written forms of sushi (the sound) regardless of their original meanings. You can borrow the English word "Wikipedia" as the written form of sushi of Japanese. When you see the word "Wikipedia" in a Japanese text, you read sushi. Its China connection is actually very remote. -- Toytoy 01:37, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)
I found this article (http://homepage3.nifty.com/maryy/eng/sushi_kanji.htm) pretty useful. -- Toytoy 01:41, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

More ideas[edit]

More can be written on this subject:

  • Technological improvements: Tokyo is a harbour city. It is easy to obtain fresh raw fish in Tokyo. However, without refrigeration, fish such as lean tuna meat had to be preserved in soy sauce 100 years ago.
  • Mostly preferred part of tuna: Lean "red meat" (赤身; akami) -> fatty belly meat (toro) after the WW II.
  • Whale meat: An acquired flavor for the post-WW II generation. It becomes a hotly debated subject today.
  • Serving: Two on a plate rather than one. The definition of the unit "貫" (かん; kan). Whether one kan means one or two sushi.
  • Red vinegar -> white vinegar (after 1960s): In fear of imported stale south Asian rice (yellowish in color).
  • The abolishment of street-side sushi food stands. (Possibly around the WW II; food safty issues). The rise of sushi restaurants (料亭).
  • The invention of conveyor belt sushi. The downfall of "traditional" sushi restaurants.
  • The "Californian" sushi.
  • Sushi professionals' dialects (e.g. アガリ agari for tea; シャリ shari for rice ...) It is possibly somewhat impolite for an outsider to use these terms.
  • Different stage-specific names (from birth to mature) of some fishes (http://home.k06.itscom.net/aki/shuse.htm).
  • The introduction of sushi in various parts of the world: I think sushi entered North American popular culture after the 1980s or 1990s (Sushi is chic!). The availabily of refrigeration and the invention of sushi-making machines allow the wide spread of nigirizushi around the world. Sushi entered Taiwan and China somewhat earlier. The stereotype sushi in the Chinese-speaking world before 1980s or 1990s was totally-cooked sushi rolls (makizushi; see the first few pictures of zh:寿司). Why? Making nigirizushi by hand is difficult. Most Japanese people cannot make it at home. You have to get the finest fish. You also need to spend years to learn the skill. Simply forming the rice takes years to learn (it has to contain air) if you want to do it professionally. Without the machine, there will never be so many cheap conveyor belt sushi restaurants. Making makizushi with a bamboo mat (see Image:SushiRollCreation.jpg)and fully-cooked materials (eggs, ham, cucumber, carrot sticks, mayonnaise ...) does not require so much skill.
  • The evolution of Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. It's the biggest fish market on earth. Many shops are currently owned by their 3rd generation owners. Many of them are struggling against the decline of fishery and the westernized food industry (quality v. quantity).

This is an interesting subject. -- Toytoy 05:15, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

  • As a measure to control costs, many sushi restaurants in Tokyo are now buying their tamagoyaki (egg rools) from specialized dealers nearby the Tsukiji fish market. These "riverside rolls" (河岸玉) (Tsukiji is located by riverside) are uniform. Therefore, a gourmet visiting an unfamiliar restaurant may order tamagoyaki sushi at first. If he/she finds out the restaurant used mass-produced "riverside rolls", you know what will happen.
  • Tamagoyaki and "shining fishes" (some vinegar-marinated silver-colored fishes; 光物の魚) are two vital tests to a true Edo-mae restaurant. If the restaurant fails to provide good egg rools and marinated fishes, it is not a good one. The earliest Edo-mae sushi was not based on raw fish. It was generally cooked (e.g. sakura-stewed octopus (タコの桜煮), marinated fish, steamed or boiled clams, stewed eel (anago; アナゴ) ...).
  • A cost-saving cheap trick is the invention of artificial fish roes. The artificial ikura (salmon roe; イクラ) are tiny capsules of flovored soy bean oil wrapped in food-grade gel.
  • The kanji character "鮨" is more frequently used in Kanto (east Japan) while "鮓" is more frequently used in Kansai (west Japan).

The history of sushi is possibly too complex a subject for just a few non-expert Wikipedians like us. For the record, I cannot speak Japanese. My taste buds are also ruined by the McDonald's. -- Toytoy 06:30, Apr 6, 2005 (UTC)

Home foods and restaurant foods[edit]

Nigirizushi was an instant hit and it spread through Edo like wildfire. ... This means that there were nearly 150 sushi restaurants for every soba restaurant.

I know sushi has been popular. But it is unfair to pit sushi against soba this way.

Fact: You cannot make nigirizushi at home. Even in Japan, you usually don't make your own nigirizushi. A full course of nigirizushi includes possibly more than 5 to 10 different fish and shellfish. You don't know how to select them. You may know how to fillet these fish but you don't know how to prepare them (some lightly salted; some marinated in vinegar or soy sauce; some litely burned in straw smoke; some charcoaled burned or heated by hot water on one side; some served 6/12/24 hours after death; some stewed in a thick sauce; some wrapped in sea weed to reduce water; ... blah ... blah ...). The meat may look like raw fish to an untrained person, it may take some behind-the-scene hard working to bring out the best flavor of that particular kind of fish. You don't know how to cook the rice THE EXPERT WAY. You don't know how to form the rice THE EXPERT WAY. Even if you know how, it is stupid to buy so many kinds of fish for a single meal. You end up going to a food stand or a restaurant. Even armed with an egg beater and an oven, you usually don't make soufflé at home. Making nigirizushi is even more difficult.

In contrast, cooking soba at home is possible. You may even make your own soba from a 70%/30% or 80%/20% mixture of buckwheat flour and wheat flour (pure buckwheat soba is much more difficult). A soba restaurant has to compete with housewives. -- Toytoy 04:50, Apr 4, 2005 (UTC)

Sushi and Sandwich. Significance or Coincidence?[edit]

Tekka-maki (known also as the Tuna Roll) is a raw tuna and rice roll. The name "tekka" refers to the gambling parlours in Japan, where this snack was served at the gaming table as finger-food.

It was in 1765 that the 4th Earl of Sandwich invented the sandwich for convenience while gambling.

The question is 'when' did was Takke-maki invented? Would it be a significant coincidence if it were invented around the same time?

http://www.kozosushi.co.jp/dic/yogo/main10.shtml
If you cannot read Japanese, you can see the picture. Tekkamaki (鉄火巻; てっか‐まき; literally, iron-fire-roll) is a finger food served for gamblers. It is named after the Japanese word for gambling house (鉄火場; てっか‐ば; tekkaba; literally, iron-fire-place). The black seaweed looks like darkened iron and the red lean tuna meat looks like fire. The Japanese Wikipedia also compares it with sandwich (see: ja:鉄火巻). I have little idea when it was invented. However, it must have been invented much later than sandwich because tuna used to be very difficult to prepare without refrigeration. -- Toytoy 16:57, 14 June 2006 (UTC)
Even if the tuna was fresh out of Edo Bay, and this is 18th century, it is a coincidence. The Japanese and the British had been gambling for eons. Septentrionalis 20:45, 16 June 2006 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

The etymology section doesn't actually list the most common kanji used for sushi (as mentioned by Toytoy)- 寿司. What's the etymology for that? --DrHacky 02:57, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

There is no etymology really. This is an instance of what is called an "ateji 「当て字」".[1] Which means characters are assigned to phoneticize the word without much regard to meaning (beyond the fact that "寿" means "longevity" making this propitious).
Note that some other editor has written up "sushi 寿司" as an example on the ateji page. --Kiyoweap (talk) 12:38, 11 March 2017 (UTC)

Bad joke?[edit]

Sushi is a Japanese dish considered a delicacy. It started out as a fast food in Japan because of its simplicity. A round sandwich of sorts, it is most often made with rice, sashimi, and circled with nori. The ingredients have caused controversy due to the fact that they are often raw.

This is hilariously bad writing, "a round sandwich of sorts", and "caused controversy due to the fact that they are often raw". I'm going to point this article out to Wikiproject Japan. JoshuSasori (talk) 03:23, 12 December 2012 (UTC)


Salmon[edit]

Shouldnt there be a section about the introduction of salmon? http://www.nortrade.com/sectors/articles/norways-introduction-of-salmon-sushi-to-japan/ 85.167.13.32 (talk) 19:05, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

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syntax[edit]

"As an example of tax paid by actual items" - not sure, but this should be "paid on"... ? Schissel | Sound the Note! 22:20, 26 August 2018 (UTC)