Sushi as a metaphor for globalization
Posted by ampontan on Monday, June 25, 2007
THE CURRENT ISSUE of Washington Monthly has a review of The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy by Sasha Issenberg, which explains how sushi was transformed from a Japanese delicacy to supermarket fast food in the space of a couple of decades.
I haven’t read the book, but if the review is any indication of its contents, that might change soon. From the review alone, we learn that:
- Before World War II, the Japanese considered tuna to be inferior food, and wouldn’t even eat toro–they used it for cat food.
- The industry leader in the U.S. supplying the fish for sushi is a company established by Reverend Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church.
- A significant amount of the world’s bluefin tuna is now raised in pens in Port Lincoln, Australia, which has reaped enormous financial benefits as a result. It is also the home to an annual tuna-tossing championship. (My wife was appalled when she saw a film clip of this recently on Japanese television.)
The entire review is here. You can find the website for the tuna toss here. Meanwhile, this is a Chicago Tribune article on True World Foods, the Reverend Moon’s company. And here’s the True World Foods company site.