Japan for the Uninvited

Japanese culture from a bemused foreign perspective

Nyotaimori (Body sushi)

Body sushiNyotaimori, “female body presentation”, is a service allowing restaurant customers to eat from the skin of a naked woman. Apart from her crotch, which is usually covered with some kind of garnish, the model’s modesty depends on the (temporary) position of the food on her body. Also known as “body sushi”, this phenomenon received a lot of media attention in the West in the 1990s. This coverage massively exaggerated the popularity of nyotaimori in Japan – these restaurants are actually very rare, and generally associated with organised crime rather than being mainstream.

Aside from the obvious attractions of salivating over a nubile body, it is claimed that nyotaimori warms the food to body temperature. Apparantly, this allows the diner to focus on the texture and taste, rather than its temperature. However, many people fail to see the advantage of sushi being lukewarm and slightly sweaty.

Jobs in nyotaimori are not for the ticklish or fidgety. Models are trained to lie still for hours, and they must be able to endure unexpected splashes of cold water and prods with chopsticks. Her body must be completely shaved, and specially washed with fragrance-free soap before the feast. Traditionally, the meal is eaten directly from the skin of the model, but hygiene laws in many countries prevent this – forcing restaurants to wrap their girls in clingfilm to prevent contact between skin and food. According to custom, the model should be a virgin, but this doesn’t seem to be observed any more.

The spread of nyotaimori outside Japan has been limited. Some restaurants started offering human platters, only to withdraw the service months later when faced with the moral backlash. In 2005, China, continuing its valiant crusade for human rights, banned restaurants from providing nyotaimori service, saying the practice “insults people’s moral quality”. For the handful of Western restaurants that still provide body sushi, stiffer rules have been imposed – customers cannot talk to the “plate”, molest her, or say anything offensive to or about her. She’s still naked though.

Wakame Sake

A similar delicacy is wakame sake, which is poured down a model’s body and drunk from the cup formed by her closed thighs. The name “wakame“, meaning soft seaweed, refers to the pubic hair floating in the drink. This is not widely-practiced, and wakame sake is even rarer than nyotaimori.

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16 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Anonymous

    are you taking aplications?

  2. I have seen these presentation in FUKUOKA-CITY once back in 2006.
    Yeah……they charge you a sashimi and sushi plate for between @$750 to @$1,200. It was funny lady did not wear pefume or any smell at all at the time. But anyway, weman can not wear perfume when they going to sushibar in Japan anyway. A little different in America.

  3. I did a similar write up about this on my blog called”warm sake.”

  4. Samantha

    I’d love to be a sushi model for nyotaimori… I’m in the San Francisco Bay Area. Does anyone know who I can contact to get work doing nyotaimori?

  5. {that comment above is mine from awhile back}

    I am available to be booked for Nyotaimori :)
    For more information go to my online modeling portfolio:

    http://www.modelmayhem.com/sami

    And yes, I have experience sushi modeling for an event held at a sushi restaurant! I am located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

  6. suzie

    Nyotaimori is a kind of sushi dish that is served on the naked body of a living women. Originated in Japan, it is now served in many parts of the world.

  1. JapanSoc - Jun 4th, 2009

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