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The former president tells
the secret story of the birth
of Kabosu-buri

The sea of Usuki

In 1980, the national and prefectural governments, the city of Usuki, and a fisheries cooperative developed the area around Mitsugo Island as a fishing ground and began aquaculture. We joined the project, hauled the fishponds by boat from our previous fishing grounds, and started aquaculture at the current location.
Farmed yellowtail raised in the sea of Usuki grows slowly in an environment with low water temperature, giving it a firm, meaty flesh.

Our rival is Himi’s winter yellowtail

A decade ago, farm-raised yellowtail contained a lot of fat and left a lingering aftertaste, which many people disliked. Our goal was to raise a yellowtail that tastes as delicious as possible.

I thought that if we were going to farm yellowtail, we would have to try Himi's winter yellowtail from Toyama Prefecture, the king of wild yellowtail, so I ordered it when it was in season.
I remember my wife remarking, "It's so fatty," as she sliced the magnificent cold yellowtail.
Indeed, when dipped in soy sauce, the fat would float to the surface, but when I tried it, I was pleasantly surprised at how refreshing it was.

Tried-and-true Kabosu-buri

In 2010, the Oita Prefecture Aquaculture Council announced the findings of a study indicating that feeding kabosu juice and powder to yellowtail had a positive effect. The council approached local aquaculturists if anyone would be interested in conducting field trials, and I decided to step up to the plate.

Determining when and how much kabosu-containing food to feed the fish was developed together with researchers through repeated trial and error at the fishing grounds, based on basic data from experiments conducted at the Marine Biological Technology Center.
The key was to determine when to feed the fish with kabosu-containing feed so that they could be shipped when the full benefits of kabosu could be appreciated.

It is said that the Kabosu-buri's dark meat is less likely to discolor due to the antioxidant properties of the polyphenols and vitamin C it contains.
Naturally, that is one of its features, but I was even more surprised that the fat was not cloying but refreshing, and I could enjoy it as much as I wanted.
This was the first time in many years of aquaculture that we could tell immediately if the fish was Kabosu-buri or not when we ate it.

I want to promote Kabosu-buri

The surprise when I tasted Kabosu-buri gave me new strength. Together with Oita Prefecture, we promoted the product across the country, including Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nagoya.
I even engaged a customer who said, "I don't like farm-raised yellowtail," and asked them to sample it. I was so happy when they praised our product with a smile, saying, “It’s delicious. This yellowtail is different."
I even asked a traditional Japanese restaurant I knew to develop some Kabosu-buri courses.

The dishes include carpaccio featuring the bright color of the dark meat, Ryukyu*, an Oita specialty, Kirasu-mamashi*, the classic Buri Daikon (yellowtail cooked with daikon), Nambayaki wrapped with green onion and grilled with sauce, deep-fried yellowtail with ankake sauce, and yellowtail shabu-shabu.
Since Kabosu-buri has a thin skin, we recommend enjoying yellowtail shabu-shabu with the skin on, as it is bursting with umami.

The final dish is zosui or rice porridge. Although bluefish such as yellowtail is not suitable for zosui because of its fishy smell, Kabosu-buri is also tasty in zosui.
When I eat it at home, I like to have it as a yellowtail shabu-shabu and make zosui the next day.
A simple recipe of making a broth with local white dashi and eating it with ponzu is delicious enough, so I highly recommend giving it a try.

  • Ryukyu* - Sashimi of yellowtail marinated in sauce with toasted sesame seeds and other seasonings.
  • Kirasu-mameshi* - Sashimi mixed with soy pulp. The local word “kirasu” stands for okara (soy pulp) and “mameshi” means to dredge.

Thanks to the support of many people

We have had major damage caused by red tides in the past.
I was at my wits' end, but when many of my aquaculture friends gathered to help me clean up the mess, I was so happy that I cried. We have always insisted on shipping locally, but what makes us happiest is when we receive feedback from people who have tried our products.
We get positive feedback such as, "Kabosu-buri is delicious," or "Usuki Bay is the best place for amberjack," and if the quality is not good, we get a befitting response.
We have been encouraged by their words and have been committed to producing delicious fish.

Connecting lives

After working diligently to raise fish, I am reminded once again of the meaning of "life. We receive, nurture, and pass on life.
We deliver the gift from the sea, the source of life, to our customers.
It also means that we are what we are, thanks to the people who eat our fish.
I hope that those who will be involved in aquaculture in the future will hold dear the thought, "Thank you, life, thank you, sea," and raise Kabosu-buri to become even more delicious, and I hope that more people will enjoy its taste.