Pranks dubbed “Sushi horror” shock Japan as police make arrests

Three persons have been detained by Japanese authorities in connection with “sushi terror“—viral, unsanitary jokes that pose a threat to the internationally renowned practice of sushi restaurants using conveyor belts.

Outrage was raised last month after a video of a man licking a soy sauce bottle on a sushi conveyor belt went viral.

He may be seen in the video smashing sushi plates at a Kura Sushi restaurant location.

Since then, scores of these videos have spread, raising anxiety among the general public.

Diners, many of whom are kids and teenagers, have been caught on camera ruining other people’s orders by touching sushi dishes that are passing by.

One video that surfaced last month showed a patron adding wasabi to another’s plate as someone else licked the chopsticks that had been offered.

Another video taken at a Sushiro chain restaurant shows a diner smearing saliva on sushi rolls as they pass.

Many Japanese people are shocked by the viral practice, which has prompted numerous conveyor-belt sushi chains, or kaitenzushi in the local dialect, to take action.

One woman, Yukari Tanaka, told the BBC, “I know people from overseas look forward to eating sushi here so as a Japanese person, I am ashamed of such activities.

“Kaitenzushi is Japanese culture we can be proud of,” remarked Nana Kozaki, “but actions of a few people like them severely undermine that.”

Others admitted they were “a little worried” by the trend and had decreased their willingness to eat out.

Japan is noted for its strict standards of hygiene and dining manners.

So, the “sushi terrorism” jokes not only horrified many people across the nation but also caused a decline in the share prices of businesses like the Sushiro chain.

Because of this, a number of kaitenzushi chains have started publicly pleading with offenders to cease sabotaging meals.

Sushi conveyor belts have stopped running nationwide as a result of some restaurants’ decision to stop running their major draw entirely.

The Choushimaru restaurant in eastern Japan announced that it would completely stop utilizing its conveyor belts after a customer put a cigarette butt in a jar of pickled ginger.

Customers will now be served by staff members who will also only offer condiments and sauces after they have taken a seat.

What happened to my favorite sushi, do you know?
The conveyor-belt restaurant concept is under threat from the viral video trend, according to a spokeswoman for the restaurant chain Kura Sushi, which was the target of the arrests on Wednesday.

“As a part of Japanese culture, we are proud of conveyor belt sushi. We want to make sure that eating sushi that has been served on a belt can be done securely and comfortably for our consumers,” he said.

Although a number of sushi companies have previously taken legal action, it is thought that Wednesday’s detentions mark the first arrests of offenders.

Ryoga Yoshino, 21, is accused by Nagoya police in central Japan of licking a shared soy sauce bottle on 3 February at a Kura Sushi conveyor-belt sushi restaurant.

There were also two other juveniles, 19 and 15 years old. According to the police, their activities violated the Criminal Code of Japan by obstructing commerce.

According to authorities, every suspect admitted to the conduct. One apparently expressed regret for his behavior as well.

Restaurant-owning businesses were already having trouble due to the pandemic of the coronavirus, the weakened yen, the conflict in Ukraine, and the impact on global supply chains.

Many businesses had to boost the cost of their entry-level products last year.

The rise of unsanitary pranks presents them with a new challenge.

As a result, eateries all throughout the nation are rushing to reassure clients of their hygienic standards.

To prevent any sabotage efforts, the Sushiro restaurant modified its service policies last month and now requires diners to retrieve their own utensils and condiments from workers.

As part of an alarm system that Kura Sushi has created, some of its conveyor belts will soon be fitted with sensors and cameras.

An alert will be delivered to the chain’s offices in Saitama prefecture, close to Tokyo and Osaka, in the event that someone is discovered returning a plate that has been tampered with. Kura Sushi stated that the impacted restaurant would also be informed.

The new sensors, according to the manufacturer, will also be able to pinpoint the exact plate and seat number impacted.

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