Fiddly and cutesy fish

According to the Financial Times, young people in Japan don’t like fish anymore. This website has a metered paywall, so here is a summary if you can’t access it:

Even though Japan made foods and words like sushi and sashimi popular around the world, these days young people aren’t eating as much fish and instead are eating more hamburgers and fried chicken and dairy products. Bluefin tuna and Chilean salmon have seen a steady decline in popularity.

In order to try to attract these young people back to fish, the government has created Kirimichan, a “cute character” in the shape of a salmon fillet. A spokesperson from the fisheries ministry said:

“We thought a cute character like Kirimichan could help change an image of fish as something cheerful and fun.”

In 2006, meat consumption in Japan was greater than fish consumption for the first time. That said, Japan still has the highest consumption of fish in the world, the article says. The world average is 20 kg. of fish consumed per person per year. In Japan, it was 27 kg. in 2013, though that number was much less than the highest: 40 kg. per person in 2001.

In other parts of the world, like the US, Europe, Brazil and China, fish consumption is growing as people try to eat more healthily and the economy improves.

In Japan:

“The declining and ageing population has also hit demand, while many consumers are shying away from fish as it is regarded as more fiddly to prepare.”

fiddly = difficult / troublesome / complicated

(This word is something I never thought I’d see in a news article … I should read British news articles more often.)


  • Is this character cute? Will it entice you to eat more fish?
  • Among your friends and family, are people eating less fish? More hamburgers and fried chicken and dairy, as the article says? Do you think the Japanese diet (in general) or your diet has become more “Westernized”?
  • People are worried about bluefin tuna becoming endangered. So isn’t it good that we’re eating less?
  • Do you think preparing fish is “fiddly”?
  • The article also mentions that the 2011 Fukushima disaster had an impact on the amount of fish people eat. Is this true for you and the people around you?
  • Why do you think it’s so hard to find smoked salmon that’s from Japan?
  • Sanrio made both Hello Kitty and Kirimi-chan. What do you suppose will happen when they get together?

The Kirimi-chan collection:


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