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  • The Tsukiji Market, supervised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale

  • Market of the Tokyo Metropolitan Bureau of Industrial and Labor Affairs, is the

  • biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world and also one of the

  • largest wholesale food markets of any kind.

  • The market is located in Tsukiji in central Tokyo, between the Sumida River

  • and the upmarket Ginza shopping district. While the inner wholesale

  • market has restricted access to visitors, the outer retail market,

  • restaurants and associated restaurant supply stores remain a major tourist

  • attraction for both domestic and overseas visitors.

  • Location The market is located near the

  • Tsukijishijō Station on the Toei Ōedo Line and Tsukiji Station on the Tokyo

  • Metro Hibiya Line. There are two distinct sections of the market as a

  • whole. The "inner market" is the licensed wholesale market, where

  • approximately 900 licensed wholesale dealers operate small stalls and where

  • the auctions and most of the processing of the fish take place. The "outer

  • market" is a mixture of wholesale and retail shops that sell Japanese kitchen

  • tools, restaurant supplies, groceries, and seafood, and many restaurants,

  • especially sushi restaurants. Most of the shops in the outer market close by

  • the early afternoon, and in the inner market even earlier.

  • Economics The market handles more than 400

  • different types of seafood from cheap seaweed to the most expensive caviar,

  • and from tiny sardines to 300 kg tuna and controversial whale species.

  • Overall, more than 700,000 metric tons of seafood are handled every year at the

  • three seafood markets in Tokyo, with a total value in excess of 600 billion

  • yen. The number of registered employees as of 25 January 2010 varies from 60,000

  • to 65,000, including wholesalers, accountants, auctioneers, company

  • officials, and distributors. Operations

  • The market opens most mornings at 3:00 a.m. with the arrival of the products by

  • ship, truck and plane from all over the world. Particularly impressive is the

  • unloading of tons of frozen tuna. The auction houses then estimate the value

  • and prepare the incoming products for the auctions. The buyers also inspect

  • the fish to estimate which fish they would like to bid for and at which

  • price. The auctions start around 5:20 a.m.

  • Bidding can only be done by licensed participants. These bidders include

  • intermediate wholesalers who operate stalls in the marketplace and other

  • licensed buyers who are agents for restaurants, food processing companies,

  • and large retailers. The auctions usually end around 7:00

  • a.m. Afterward, the purchased fish is either loaded onto trucks to be shipped

  • to the next destination or on small carts and moved to the many shops inside

  • the market. There the shop owners cut and prepare the products for retail. In

  • case of large fish, for example tuna and swordfish, cutting and preparation is

  • elaborate. Frozen tuna and swordfish are often cut with large band saws, and

  • fresh tuna is carved with extremely long knives called oroshi-hōchō,

  • maguro-bōchō, or hanchō-hōchō. The market is the busiest between 5:30

  • and 8:00 a.m., and the activity declines significantly afterward. Many shops

  • start to close around 11:00 a.m., and the market closes for cleaning around

  • 1:00 p.m. Tourists may visit the market daily between 5 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. and

  • watch the proceedings from a designated area, except during periods when it is

  • closed to the public. Because of an increase in sightseers and

  • the associated problems they cause, the market had banned all tourists from the

  • tuna auctions on several occasions, including from 15 December 2008 through

  • 17 January 2009, 10 December 2009 through 23 January 2010, and 8 April

  • 2010 through 10 May 2010. After the latest ban that ended in May 2010, the

  • tuna auctions have been re-opened to the public with a maximum limit of 120

  • visitors per day on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitor entry into

  • the interior wholesale markets is prohibited until after 9 AM. Due to the

  • March 2011 earthquakes all tourists were banned from viewing the tuna auctions

  • till 26 July 2011, from which date it was reopened.

  • Inspectors from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government supervise activities in the

  • market to enforce the Food Hygiene Law. History

  • The first market in Tokyo was established by Tokugawa Ieyasu during

  • the Edo period to provide food for Edo castle. Tokugawa Ieyasu invited

  • fishermen from Tsukuda, Osaka to Edo to provide fish for the castle. Fish not

  • bought by the castle was sold near the Nihonbashi bridge, at a market called

  • uogashi which was one of many specialized wholesale markets that lined

  • the canals of Edo. In August 1918, following the so-called

  • "Rice Riots", which broke out in over 100 cities and towns in protest against

  • food shortages and the speculative practices of wholesalers, the Japanese

  • government was forced to create new institutions for the distribution of

  • foodstuffs, especially in urban areas. A Central Wholesale Market Law was

  • established in March 1923. The Great Kantō earthquake on September

  • 1, 1923, devastated much of central Tokyo, including the Nihonbashi fish

  • market. In the aftermath of the earthquake, the market was relocated to

  • the Tsukiji district and, after the construction of a modern market facility

  • was completed in 1935, the fish market began operations under the provisions of

  • the 1923 Central Wholesale Market Law. Three major markets in Tsukiji, Kanda,

  • and Koto began operating in 1935. Smaller branch markets were established

  • in Ebara, Toshima, and Adachi, and elsewhere. At present, the Tokyo

  • Metropolitan Government's system of wholesale markets includes more than a

  • dozen major and branch markets, handling seafood, produce, meat, and cut flowers.

  • Building Following the 1923 Great Kantō

  • earthquake architects and engineers from the Architectural Section of Tokyo

  • Municipal Government were sent to Europe and America to do research for the new

  • market. However, because of the sheer size of the market and the number of

  • items traded they were forced to come up with their own unique design. The

  • quarter circular shape allowed easier access and handling for freight trains

  • and the steel structure above allowed a wide, continuous space free from columns

  • and subdivisions. Planned relocation to Toyosu

  • The Tsukiji fish market occupies valuable real estate close to the center

  • of the city. Former Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara repeatedly called for

  • moving the market to Toyosu, Koto. The long-anticipated move to the new market

  • will take place in November 2016, in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Summer

  • Olympics. The new location has been criticized for being heavily polluted

  • and in need of cleanup. There are plans to retain a retail market, roughly a

  • quarter of the current operation, in Tsukiji. The remaining area of the

  • market will be redeveloped. In popular media

  • The Tsukiji fish market was on the July 8, 2008 episode of the American reality

  • show I Survived a Japanese Game Show. In the episode, the winning team received a

  • reward in the form of a VIP tour of the fish market.

  • In the 2011 documentary film Jiro Dreams of Sushi, the market is featured and

  • discussed as it relates to Jiro Ono's life profession as a world-renowned

  • sushi chef. The market is featured in the music

  • video for the 2014 single "Rather Be" by the British band Clean Bandit.

  • The Japanese culture and lifestyle television show Begin Japanology aired

  • on NHK World featured a full episode on Tsukiji fish market in 2008.

  • Notes References

  • Bestor, Theodore C., Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World,

  • Berkeley: University of California Press, ISBN 0-520-22024-2

  • " Tokyo's Tsukiji Fish Market Threatened By Globalization," Bloomberg News,

  • September 28, 2005. Documentary Film 'The Cost of Sushi;

  • Emptying the Seas' by director Pedro Barbadillo.

  • External links Official market homepage

  • Market association home page Guide to Tsukiji Market Tuna Auction -

  • English

The Tsukiji Market, supervised by the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale

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Tsukiji fish market

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    むなかた じゅん posted on 2016/10/27
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