It’s called “ikizukuri” and it’s perhaps the most horrifying and shockingly inhumane form of “dinner” ever invented.
Imagine a fat, live frog. A hand hoists him high and drives a knife through and across his belly, cutting him savagely in half. Another hand grips his insides and tears them away. The skin is ripped off his lower extremities. His leg muscles are neatly sliced and diced and the raw, quivering flesh is placed on a chilled plate.
The frog’s upper half is centered decoratively on the plate amidst slices of lemon, some soy sauce, and the raw pieces of legs and torso. Dinner is served — and the poor frog is still blinking at you as you begin eating him.
You don’t need to imagine any of this. If you have the stomach for it, you can see it happen in this video shot at the Asadachi restaurant in Toyko in 2012:
Shrimp, fish, lobster, squid and octopus are frequently served in this way. They are not killed and then prepared. They are simply… prepared. Alive. It happens fast and furiously to ensure the meal can be placed before the diner with the entree obviously still moving about.
The name of the restaurant where this video was taken, Asadachi, means “morning wood” (if you catch my drift). The restaurant, described as a notorious “hole-in-the-wall food hut,” is located in a section of Tokyo colloquially known as “Piss Alley.” Officially, Tokyo prefers to call it “Memory Lane,” but it is said to remind visitors of scenes from the movie Blade Runner.
Asadachi prides itself on its wilder forms of food. On the menu on any given night are pig testicles and uterus, grilled salamanders, horse and chicken sashimi, turtle feet and horse penis. Yes, you read those correctly. Asadachi is not the only place that serves ikizukuri, of course. It just happens to be the place where this now viral video was taken.
One might wonder what type of person would want to eat a creature that is sliced apart in front of them while it is still alive. Surely this sort of thing is rare? Not so. In Japan and elsewhere in Asia, ikizukuri is a sought-after delicacy.
Ikizukuri is a Japanese word most accurately translated as “prepared alive.” This seafood technique dates back in Asian culture over 2,000 years. The point, apparently, is to present sashimi (raw sushi) in its most demonstrably fresh state. Nothing is more fresh than something that is still alive, with a beating heart, right on the plate.
Danielle Demetriou, writing for The Telegraph in 2008, described her experience with live sushi like this:
After I make my selection, a chef nonchalantly captures a large flapping fish with a long net, before gutting the creature with three deft strokes and removing some of the flesh. A platter of ice is placed before me bearing the sculpted fish body, clearly twitching, with the heart still beating, unmistakably still alive. Some of its flesh has been sliced into thin sashimi pieces and placed by its side.
Many will argue that the minute the knife stabs into the hapless frog in the above video, he is dead. They assert that the twitching, movement and blinking of the eyes are all automatic nervous system responses, not evidence that the frog lives. They say he’s not really watching that incredibly soulless woman eat him alive. I sincerely hope so, because it doesn’t look that way. Not at all.
In the end cruelty is cruelty, no matter at what point the frog dies. Sign the petition to end this cruel practice!
Photo Credit: YouTube