Kaimin Katsugyu: Sushi Acupuncture

Our Issaquah sushi restaurant is very familiar with how seriously a sushi chef can take his or her craft. In many restaurants throughout Japan, the diners can actually watch as the live fish is butchered right in front of them in order to assure the best freshness. And, in places where this is not as acceptable, the chefs need to get more creative. This was the reason kaimin katsugyo was invented.

Kaimin katsugyo is a Japanese term that translates to “live fish, sleeping soundly”. It describes a practice that utilizes some of the same theory of acupuncture, whereby a live fish is pierced by a series of needles in key spots. This is meant to put the fish into a comatose state, where they continue to breathe shallowly and can be bled out without stress. In this way, a fish can be preserved with no composition in the flesh as it is flown all the way from Japan to the US, where it can be prepared with a greater taste than you might find in an untreated piece of fish. Whether or not this practice actually works is a bit of a mystery, but sushi prepared with kaimin katsugyo tends to carry twice the cost of a normal piece of sushi.