When is the Squilla (Shako) is alive, it has a gray or light brown color. It transforms when it’s boiled. It changes to a reddish-purple color like the flowers of a rhododendron (shakunage). For this reason it was known as “shakunage,” which for some reason lead to the mispronounced version of the word, “shako.”The texture of the meat after being boiled with salt is different than that of shrimp, and you can also enjoy its rich fragrance. It comes into season in late fall before molting, but shako carrying eggs, which appear from early spring to early summer, are considered the best. The roe, called Katsubushi, is a top grade delicacy.(Revision date: January 4, 2019)
Trivia : Squilla has a self-digestion enzyme that is activated when it dies, melting the body leaving only a shell, so there is nothing left to prepare for eating. So after being caught, it is boiled straight out of the net while still alive and packaged for distribution immediately.