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Employees pose in front of Tokyo sidewalk restaurants on a sunny day in May, 1934. The delivery bicycle belongs to Yanase Sushi (the shop with the white sign with red kanji).
The first English language guide of Japan that mentions the dish in its index is Terry’s Guide to the Japanese Empire (1920). Although the guide does describe sashimi, it only briefly mentions sushi as a local product of the Sakawa River made of trout served at stations nearby Odawara in Kanagawa Prefecture.
“A product of this stream, in the shape of a small silvery trout seasoned with vinegar, cooked with rice, and called sushi, is sold at this and other stations (16 sen), and though unsavory and unpalatable to foreigners, it is much liked by the Japanese.”1
The first conveyer belt sushi restaurant outside Japan was opened in 1980, in Los Angeles. It launched a worldwide sushi boom. Paris saw its first sushi restaurant in 1984 and the first European sushi factory, making products for supermarkets, was established in Amsterdam in 1988. Sushi restaurants are found from Ho Chi Minh City, Bali and Katmandu to Vladivostok, Kuwait and Nairobi.2
Sushi now represents Japanese cuisine, and in many countries eating sushi is seen as a status symbol. When the first Michelin Guide for Tokyo was published in November 2007, the prestigious guide awarded two sushi restaurants with three stars. A total of 15 sushi restaurants were awarded one or more stars.3
How surprised Philip Terry would be if he could see how Japanese sushi restaurants have spread all over the world and are jammed-packed with foreigners.
This glass slide is one of a series of slides of Japan that was used by the New York State Education Department to teach students about Japan.
1 Terry, T. Philip (1920). Terry’s Guide to the Japanese Empire. Houghton Mifflin Company, 368.
2 Watanabe, Zenjiro, The Development and Expansion of the Japanese Diet. Retrieved on 2008-02-21.