AMPONTAN

Japan from the inside out

Nagasaki entrepreneur develops shark jerky

Posted by ampontan on Monday, March 5, 2007

WHEN LIFE HANDS YOU A LEMON, they say, make lemonade. Well, what do you do when life hands you have a surplus of sharks?

If you’re Kikukawa Suisan, a company in Isahaya, Nagasaki Prefecture, you make shark meat jerky. The company is a microenterprise whose primary business is processing mackerel. But Kikukawa Ryuta wanted to find a way to use shark meat to create a niche in the market. The maritime predator is plentiful in the waters off Nagasaki, but its meat is seldom used for food because of its unpleasant, ammonia-like odor.

That drawback has its benefits, however—shark meat is dirt cheap. So Kikukawa went to work three or four days a week on his own time to come up with a way to neutralize the smell.

As the Nishinippon Shimbun reports (article not online), he tried nearly 100 different methods for six months before he finally succeeded. His task was complicated by other problems. Drying the meat for too long makes it brittle and crumbly like a cracker. In contrast, insufficient drying leaves too much moisture, which will stew the meat when it’s heated for sterilization.

Kikukawa boasts that competitors won’t have an easy time of it if they want to copy his product. The youthful entrepreneur claims you’d think it was beef jerky if you didn’t know what you were eating. He plans to build a small factory and offer 20-gram bags of shark jerky for a suggested retail price of 250 yen (about $US 2.15). He’ll pitch the product to liquor stores and other commercial establishments, and promote it by touting it as the perfect snack to have with a beer.

Heck, I’d try it once. Wouldn’t you?

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3 Responses to “Nagasaki entrepreneur develops shark jerky”

  1. […] A Nagasaki entrepreneur has developed shark jerky. He’ll pitch the product to liquor stores and other commercial establishments, and promote it by touting it as the perfect snack to have with a beer. [Link] […]

  2. Konichiwa,
    I “developed” shark jerky in 2002 on the Island of St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands.
    It also took along time in R&D. (almost 2 years)
    It has been in commerce ever since.
    It is now becoming a huge hit in the US.
    Please get Mr. Kikukawa and I together it would make quite a story when we try each others jerky!!!
    My information is on the website.
    Thank you,
    Floyd

  3. […] (images via: Noosphere Caves Recipes, SG Forums and Ampontan) […]

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