Sushi Etiquette


(thanks Toby!)

74 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. fucku

    thats the stupidest shit ever.
    let me eat my sushi the way i want to eat it.

    fuck you

  2. Sushifan

    Since I’m skeptical of all unsourced pronouncements, who’s the arbiter of all things sushi that gave you this? Who is the Toby and what’s his/her qualification for telling us how it is?

  3. Sushifan

    Since I’m skeptical of unsourced pronouncements (thanks to Wikipedia), who’s the arbiter of sushi etiquette who produced this graphic? {{citation-needed}}

  4. ukslim

    Yeah. I went to Tokyo with my head full of this kind of advice. Then I watched the locals eating sushi how they pleased. Dunking rice in the soy sauce; even drenching the whole plate in soy sauce.

    Possibly in the very high end places etiquette matters. Normal Japanese people don’t care.

  5. CalypsoZozo

    Good to confirm that using fingers is ok and maybe in japan you could take heed of this etiquette. But I pretty much do all the ‘Donts’ at my local sushi restaurant and they’re always happy to see me…

  6. What you read is correct. It’s exactly how you want to act at a Japanese sushi bar. Don’t be a dick, or they’ll bust out some swords and chop off your face.

  7. Dick Short

    It is always considered a sign of respect if you place uneaten pieces of sushi in your rectum. This is actually the original use of the chop sticks, as the word ‘hashi’ refers to the act of fish smuggling.

  8. SushiSan

    Does anybody know why FUCKU is so insecure and angry? Nobody is forcing anything on anybody, dumbass.

  9. 太郎

    I’m Japanese and I can vouch for the accuracy of this post: excellent!!

    Ps. Fucku probably had some bad dolphin meat 😉
    Don’t forget to watch The Cove, but remember to love the sushi!

  10. This comment thread reminds me of a scene from the food lover class movie tampopo. A group of young japanese girls is in an italian restaurant, taking an etiquette class on eating spaghetti. “Quiet, without a sound,” advises the teacher. Trying their hardest not to make a sound, they look across the restaurant at a plump English businessman, slurping away happily on his plate of pasta.

    Is it a misperception or just romanticizing? Who’s to say which one is correct.

  11. Wow, thanks so much for the article and thanks to @mattcutts for pointing it out – I was getting it so wrong! Love the blunt end of sticks tip – – makes good sense 😉


  12. I like eating sushi with ginger though!!!

  13. Cowboy

    What’s the proper etiquette for where to place the Ketchup bottle?

  14. ryo

    The article is good so far. But one thing is not correct:
    It’s common to put Wasabi in the soy sauce and dunk the sushi in it.
    That also helps from whining over your meal :).

    I always laugh about how important correct or wrong instructions on eating anything in Japan are. You know Japanese are living, too. Do you have only 1st class restaurants in your country? Everyone eating with the fork in the left and knife in the right hand in a McDonalds? Or eating ice cream with a special ice-cream spoon in the cinemas? Or do you know how to put your knives and forks in the right direction after eating in a normal (!) restaurant with less then 3 stars, to indicate it was good or bad ? No? Japanese don’t know either!

  15. Matsuyamachi street

    For what it’s worth, it’s good advice. You really shouldn’t put wasabi in the soy sauce – most of the time, wasabi is already under the fish anyway. Adding too much additional flavoring is generally rude to any chef, in any country.

    Of course Japanese don’t expect you to have perfect etiquette, as many don’t themselves. However, knowing a thing or two can only help kill off the stereotype that foreigners in Japan are rude and ignorant (or helplessly cool for said reasons). eh.

  16. 日本人

    I’m Japanese. I think these are great and accurate advises.
    You can eat the way you want to, but just try these when you eat Sushi in Japan. I think it shows that you respect the culture.
    The Sushi chef will love you and may give you extra Sashimi.

    I would love to learn how to eat that huge humberger I had when I were at a restaurant in California.

  17. Takagi

    I’m sorry to say, this is not very accurate.
    There is no “sign” to signal that you are finished, nor is it inappropriate to mix wasabi with soy sauce.

  18. Ugh

    When you go into an Applebee’s do you care about which side the fork is on? Or not putting your elbows on the table? Or always looking people in the eyes when you toast?

    Hell. No.

    So, of course most of the time, performing proper etiquette at a sushi bar is not going to matter, but if you’re ever caught off-guard at some high class event with sushi, you won’t look like an idiot.

    P.S. Sorry for comparing sushi bars to Applebee’s, it was just the first example I thought of.

  19. First of all, I just want to say that the illustration here is pretty awesome, however, I have some minor disagreements with the overall concept.

    1. I’ve been to many sushi bars here in America that had splinters in the chopsticks, and rubbing them together solved that problem. Maybe in Japan they save all the high quality chopsticks for themselves and just export the crappy ones to us, but I really can’t say. Plain and simple: if the chopsticks have splinters of any sort, it makes sense to remove the splinters before using them, regardless of the establishment or what they might think of you.

    2. I’ll eat my ginger however I please. Would you tell someone that they had to eat their ketchup or mustard separate from their hotdog, “as a palate cleanser”? Some people might want to use it as a palate cleanser, and that’s their choice. That is obviously the intended purpose, however, I believe that you haven’t fully lived unless you’ve experimented a little bit, and I have personally found the taste of ginger mixed with certain types of sushi to actually be enjoyable.

    3. I’ll dunk the rice in the soy sauce if I feel like it. Maybe I like the taste of soy sauce. Maybe I won’t use any soy sauce at all. Maybe I’ll mix wasabi in with it to form a spicy, salty paste, and I’ll smear it all over the dang piece of raw fish before eating it. Who cares? Food is an experience, and you should be allowed to have fun with it. Everyone has different tastes, and to just put everyone in little boxes and tell them they all have to do the exact same thing the exact same way is stupid.

    4. As for handing money to the chef, at least that makes some sense. Germs are all over money, and the chef is back there touching all the food.

    *end rant*


  20. Ze

    Please don´t eat sushi they kill animals just for some parts and trow the rest to the Ocean…


  21. Dick Short

    Do not eat the fish. Kill the fish just for the fun of it, but don’t eat them. For added enjoyment, lock their dead carcasses away in a hermetically sealed container so that the biomass cannot be returned to the system. If you want to have sex with the fish (alive or dead), that is acceptable as well.

  22. just eat it

    I was eating in a sushi restaurant in Berlin (Germany) tonight. After the meal my friend mentioned that our neighbours had been making comments about the fact that I had been spreading my wasabi on my food using my finger. Apparently this is a big ‘no,no’ in the famed ‘german sushi’ culture.

    Fine, I accept this, but in my culture we try to ‘mind our own frickin business’ and furthermore we don’t try to exterminate alien cultures. Next person who complains about the way I eat my sushi will get my wasabi smeared digit rammed where the sun don’t shine!!!!

  23. Someone

    @Just Eat It

    Sorry, it is disgusting that you would rub wasabi on food with your FINGER! How sanitary would it be to see someone rub ketsup on their hamburger with their fingers? Why don’t you use your toes instead?

    And it seems clear to me, you have no stomach for criticism as your reaction to the situation is anal penetration!

    Concerning the article, my opinion is:
    * The only thing on the “Do” list that makes sense is the 1st box: how to pick up sushi. In 15 years of eating out, I have only seen one example of someone using the other end of their chopstick for picking up food from a shared plate. I think it looks rude actually and silly. If you want to be super sanitary, then ask for an extra pair of chopsticks that can be used for that shared plate.
    * I also disagree with everything on the “Don’t” list except for handing money to the chef and putting gari on your sushi. Gari is a palate cleanser and it tastes wonderful on its own.


    well SOMEONE

    The wasabi is on my plate, I’m not spreading my germs to anyone else so it’s not at all unsanitary, furthermore I’m eating with my fingers anyway so if I have any germs on my fingers they are going to get on the food anyway

    The fact is that chefs have prepared food with their bare hands from the beginning of time and the introduction of gloves is an extremely recent phenomenon.

    Eating a hamburger is completely different, you don’t touch the burger itself only the bun. I suppose you also eat chocolate bars and biscuits with a knife and fork, just to be sanitary.

  25. When picking one\’s nose, please be sure not to immediately stuff one\’s fingers into one\’s mouth. Proper nose picking etiquette requires at least 5 seconds of attempted booger flicking before consuming the offending bogey.

  26. Eric the Red

    Nice illustration, but complete bullshit.

  27. manners

    I visit Japan several times a year and love going to rotator sushi places. All the edict tips they are giving you ARE true. If you go, please try to follow them and don’t just be another pig-headed American doing everything the way they see it done at Walmart. Please?

  28. Amy

    I just don’t understand why I can’t rub the chopsticks together if they’re cheap chopsticks. If they don’t want me to think they’re cheap, they shouldn’t buy crappy chopsticks.

  29. Metronomic

    I find all of you who are like “I’ll do what I want!” pretty childish and typical of western people in general. The point here is that the act of eating sushi is a ritual and there is specific etiquette that goes along with that. If you don’t want to follow it then expect to be laughed at and ridiculed and likely to get the sharp edge of the chefs tongue as well. Go eat McDonalds fat asses.

  30. Jason

    Why are people getting so aggressive?


    Nobody is saying that you have to do these things. Even if you’re in a high class sushi restaurant you dont have to do these things. However, some people like to know proper etiquette.

    I dont think anyone is going to go to a high-class restaurant, order a steak and start eating it with their hands just because they dont want to be told how to eat

  31. Burbly

    Lotta stupid americans here! Next time I come over to your house for dinner I’ll stick my dick in the mashed potatoes and see how you like it. I’ll eat my mashed potatoes any way I please, and that always involves me sticking my dick in it first!

  32. My Neighbor Totoro

    Domo origato! Totoro here to teach you a thing or two about sushi etiquette:

    -You’ll find that when you visit Japan, most people will eat their sushi with a fork.

    -Pickled ginger is more of an American thing because the bright pink is just more appealing to the eyes. In reality, most sushi in Japan is plated with pickled cucmbers: pickles. In some of the lower-quality restaurants, you’ll find a pickle relish.

    -While it is inappropriate to add wasabi to your soy sauce, traditional Japanese sushi is eaten with a thick mixture of French’s yellow mustard and Heinz ketchup. Just jam your chopsticks into the mixture so that their are sticking straight in the air. This is a compliment to the chef.

    Enjoy your sushi all! Namaste!

  33. L :O L

    @ Flutter I almost shit my pants laughing at what you wrote. Good job sir.

  34. catwoman

    This a cute way of explaining sushi etiquette — i like that it’s a comic.

    for previous commenters, it’s true that most people don’t follow these signs or manners.

    my mother is a sushi chef, and i’ve worked with many japanese people and some who have been trained by sushi masters in japan. when i worked with these people, they explained these same manners — but this is the traditional way of eating sushi. this was a high-end restaurant, like many of you have assumed, but one that only served sushi traditional style.
    so if you go to many japanese restaurants in america or japan, yes, you will find splinters in your chopsticks, and people mixing soy sauce and wasabi together. but to know it is to be aware of what the traditional culture of eating sushi is.

    conclusion: eat sushi the way you want, but by learning from japanese chefs and japanese people in the food industry, i can vouch for and i do agree that this comic is accurate.

  35. ...

    You people are idiots. Its about respecting a culture. I’m sure when you’re eating at your Americanized sushi restaurants, eating large amounts of spicy mayo, no one cares what you do. But if you want a real experience, find a small hole in the wall sushi restaurant. Go in and order omakase. This is basically chef’s choice. You won’t be disappointed. But if you go to a sushi restaurant in Japan and try to do things like dunking your fish in the soy sauce (why even bother eating if you’re going to do this) you may be asked to leave the restaurant. I’ve seen it happen first hand.

  36. ashish


  37. Thanks for your guide. I know the right way to eat sushi

  38. Kai

    The point of many of these rules is (especially in nicer places in Japan, not your local panda express), the chefs and restaurants work very hard to prepare fresh and quality fish and ingredients for the customer. Dunking the rice side down (more sauce is absorbed), using too much wasabi (it’s usually already inside), really soaking your sushi, or eating it with ginger all mask the flavours of the fish. It won’t taste much different than if the fish were a couple days (or more!) old, or cheaper quality. You can naturally choose to eat it as you wish, but many of these customs were to enjoy the efforts of the chef to bring the best quality to you, and to really taste the difference. It also respects the effort that was put into bringing you the freshest and high quality ingredients.

    For places where you are paying 1800 yen (about 25 USD?) for two pieces of sushi, you want to taste the difference that money makes.

    As for eating it in one bite and without making a mess of it, sushi chefs train for a long time to learn how to make sushi, and again, it ruins the effort they put into assembling your sushi.

    The are Japanese who probably don’t know these manners, but I have met many who do (especially older folks, like my grandfather who taught me these things). However, I would say on average, typical Japanese folks put more stock into their table manners and customs than the average American, though that might have to do with having largely one set of customs for a more homogenous population (than the US) for so long. Americans on the other hand hail from many different countries with many different customs, so maybe a “do as you’d like, but don’t be an ass” mentality was more necessary. 🙂

  39. Hung Far Long

    The custom when done eating sushi is to always stick your dick in the wasabi and sodomize the waitress as a sign you enjoyed the meal. Everyone in Japan knows this.

  40. sushi chef

    the right way to eat a macdonalds hamburger is to stuff it into your ass for exactly 60 seconds before pulling it out and stuffing it into your mouth. every american knows this.

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