Going a step further from our previous series BEGIN Japanology, host Peter Barakan visits experts in various fields to show Japanese culture from a new perspective.
Runtime: 30 minutes
Japanology Plus - History of sushi - Netflix
The history of sushi began with paddy fields in Asia, where fish was fermented with salt and rice, after which the rice was discarded. The dish is today known as narezushi, and was introduced to Japan around the Yayoi period. In the Muromachi period, people began to eat the rice as well as the fish. During the Edo period, vinegar rather than fermented rice began to be used. In pre-modern times and modern times, it has become a form of fast food strongly associated with Japanese culture.
Japanology Plus - United States - Netflix
Sushi was already being served in the United States by the early 1900s, following an influx of Japanese immigration after the Meiji Restoration. The first sushi shop in the U.S. reportedly opened in 1906 in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles. H.D. Miller, food historian of Lipscomb University has written that a wave of Japanophilia in American high society resulted in the serving of sushi at social functions. Popularity of Japanese food peaked ca. 1905 when it was being served at Japanese-themed social gatherings across the United States, including in mid-western cities such as Minneapolis, Minnesota, St. Louis, Missouri and Bismarck, North Dakota. According to Miller, the earliest published mention of sushi eaten by an American, in America, was an August 18, 1904 article in the Los Angeles Herald about a luncheon served in Santa Monica by the socialite Fern Dell Higgins. Several years later, a wave of anti-Japanese nativism sentiments and restrictions on Japanese immigration, starting with the Gentlemen's Agreement of 1907, caused a subsequent decline in the acceptance of Japanese cuisine. After the outbreak of World War II, Japanese-American restaurants on the West Coast were generally forced to close and sell off their businesses due to internment orders on their proprietors. One restaurant that reopened after the war to serve sushi was Matsuno Sushi (Matsu-no-sushi) in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. This restaurant had been in business at least since 1938 or 1939, and by 1949, it was back serving sushi (featuring local bluefin tuna) for lunch. But the maki and inari they served was not shaped by hand by trained chefs, but molded in cookie-cutters. The Kawafuku restaurant in Little Tokyo has been credited with being the “first true sushi bar” in the United States, that is to say, the first to serve sushi from a trained sushi chef in the country. Some sources accept the claim made by a man named Noritoshi Kanai that he was the person instrumental in persuading Kawafuku's owner to start the sushi section. Kanai has also claimed to be the person who coined the term “sushi bar”. Kanai headed the Tokyo-based arm of Mutual Trading, an importer of Japanese food ingredients that served Kawafuku and other restaurants. The first sushi chef in America according to this account was Shigeo Saito, and some sources paint the chef as the principal figure who brought real sushi to the U.S. The California roll was invented in Los Angeles by substituting a slice of avocado for the seasonal toro (fatty tuna) in a traditional maki roll.
Japanology Plus - References - Netflix