- Main lore areas
Miyoshi City and Shobara City in Bihoku area
- Main ingredients used
Shark, ginger, garlic, soy sauce
- History/origin/related events
It is called "crocodile", but what is actually eaten is "shark". It is also called "fuka. In the mountainous areas of the Chugoku region, there is an old word for "shark" called "crocodile," and the crocodile that appears in the myth "Inaba no Shirohagi (White Hare of Inaba)" in the Kojiki is also thought to be a shark. There is a record of sharks being brought to this area from merchants on the Sea of Japan coast during the Edo period (1603-1868). Since sharks can last for a long time due to their high ammonia content and can be eaten as sashimi for about half a month, they began to be eaten as sashimi at home when fishermen from Shimane Prefecture began bringing them in the late 1890s. In the days when transportation was not developed, fresh seafood was difficult to obtain in mountainous areas far from the sea, and sharks were valued. Since the smell of ammonia becomes stronger as time goes by, it is often eaten with ginger soy sauce to remove the smell. Some families also ate it with sugar soy sauce. It is mainly eaten at festive occasions such as autumn festivals, New Year's, and celebrations, etc. In Miyoshi City, there is an old saying of hospitality, "Eat alligator until your stomach gets cold. There are about 20 species of sharks eaten in Miyoshi City and other parts of northern Hiroshima Prefecture, including the common ratshark, blue shark, and hammerhead shark. The color of the meat differs depending on the species, and the reddish sharks resemble swordfish, with a low fat content and soft, light flesh. Because of its taste, the shark is sometimes called "Miyoshi swordfish" in Miyoshi City and "Nishijo tuna" in Nishijo Town, Shobara City. It is caught throughout the year, but is more delicious in fall and winter, when its flesh is firmer and tastier.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Tuna was eaten at autumn festivals, New Year's, and festive occasions when many people gathered. It was one of the indispensable dishes especially during New Year's in this region. In the past, when festivals approached, "crocodile markets" were set up here and there, where crocodiles (sharks) were cut into pieces and sold. Even today, it is a winter tradition that is the subject of news stories at the end of the year. Younger people do not eat much sashimi, but older people still tend to prefer it.
- How to eat
Shark sashimi is served with ginger soy sauce to remove the smell of ammonia. It is also sometimes eaten with sugar soy sauce. In addition to sashimi, there are many other ways to eat sharks, including simmered dishes, fried dishes, tempura, boiled fish, kabayaki, soup, nanbanzuke, and crocodile rice.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Overview of the people who have passed down the tradition, preservation groups, use of SNS, and modern efforts such as commercialization, etc.)
Even today, crocodile meat can be found in supermarkets during the season from the Autumn Festival to the New Year's holiday. There are restaurants in the prefecture that serve crocodile sashimi, and it is sometimes served at kaitenzushi (conveyor-belt sushi) restaurants. New products are also being developed, such as alligator burgers, alligator buns, alligator dumplings, alligator sausage, alligator "gansu" (deep-fried fish paste, a local dish in Hiroshima), alligator pudding with collagen, and alligator cartilage cookies. Crocodile miso" sold by a long-established restaurant is served as a snack with sake or as an accompaniment to chazuke (rice with green tea).