Red flesh

A photo of Kuro maguro nigiri
Bluefin tuna (Kuro maguro)

Bluefin tuna (Kuro maguro)

【Nigiri sushi: Akami
Whatis Kuromaguro?
There are two main categories of Kuromaguro: the Pacific Bluefin Tuna that is found in the Pacific Ocean, including Japan, and the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, which lives in the seas from Boston on the east coast of the U.S. to the Mediterranean Sea. These two species have separate spawning locations and would never interact, but taxonomically, they are considered to be the same species.

What does Kuromaguro (Bluefin tuna) nigiri sushi taste like?
Kuromaguro, is considered as the best sushi item. Kuromaguro is in season in autumn and winter, while it is now available all through year thanks to advanced techniques of freezing and thawing. Maguro or tuna was considered as trash fish, not preferred during the Edo period and its fatty part was discarded. A maturing period of 4-10 days is set in order to bring out best in maguro such as a fine sourness and faint sweetness of fat. Its sleek, shiny looking deserves the title of “king of sushi”. The red flesh can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, either marinated in nikiri (called zuke),or rolled with maguro (called Tekkamaki).

Kuro maguro has very good meat quality and is very popular as sashimi and sushi topping. Akami contains about 25 grams of protein and 1.4 grams of fat per 100 grams, and is rich in minerals, vitamins, EPA, and DHA, making it tasty and highly nutritious. The toro portion of the belly contains about 20 grams of fat, and the portion with more fat is called Otoro, while the portion with slightly less fat is called Chutoro.

Kuro maguro is a fish with low quantity to begin with. According to the FY 2019 statistics, Kuro maguro accounts for less than 20% of the 360.000 tons of maguro supplied to Japan, or 57.300 tons. Of this amount, 27.700 tons are imported from overseas. Domestic aquaculture accounts for 19.600 tons. Kuro maguro caught in the Pacific Ocean amounts to only 7.500 tons.

In terms of the whole maguro, it is about 2%, indicating that it is super precious. The numbers remain largely unchanged today.

Also called Hon maguro or shibi.

Fish farming is to hatch fish from eggs or to raise from juvenile fish right after hatching. Imported fish farming tuna, which is out in the market now, is actually fish fattening tuna that is raised bigger by feeding to full-grown fish. Fish fattening is to catch tuna by fixed net fishing method when they are skinny after egg-laying, and to fatten by feeding wild fish such as sardine and mackerel for three months.

【Related contents】
Types of tuna

What is Shusseuo?

What is Yake or Yake-maguro?

What makes good quality Kuromaguro?

Do you know what kind of Tuna you’re eating at a sushi restaurant?

Types of fishing method

List of Red flesh fish (Akami)

(Revision date: January 8, 2024)

Main production area

Hokkaido Aomori Wakayama Miyazaki

Famous production area

Ooma Toi Minmaya Aburatsu Funkawan Sado Iki