Nyotaimori, or Body Sushi is the bizarre practice of eating sushi off a woman

Nyotaimori restaurants will paint the practice of body sushi as stemming from ancient Japanese culture. They claim to offer an authentic Japanese experience. Some assert that it originated in the Samurai period of Japanese history serving as celebrating of defeating an enemy. Samurai would carouse at a geisha house, relishing in their victory. Others say that it originated in Japanese crime families, enjoyed by rich and powerful Yakuza members. The images these origin stories conjure are of a mysterious and alluring experience. That’s exactly the kind of imagery that lets naked sushi providers charge premium prices. If you want to learn more about what is and what isn’t authentic, you’ll enjoy our article on the difference between Japanese and Western sushi.

Wherever nyotaimori sushi truly came from it is not as prevalent in Japanese society and culture as the people selling it want you to believe. It has always been on the fringe, existing most commonly in the shadier districts. Don’t be fooled by companies trying to sell you authenticity.

Sushi has always had a sexiness to it in the western world, and some argue that eating it perfectly arranged on a beautiful woman (or man) is an extension of this. Despite this, the idea of authentic traditional Japanese body sushi is more a myth than reality.

As sushi soared to popularity in the Western world, nyotaimori restaurants started to pop up in New York and L.A. in particular. Before you book a flight, read on. If you are still asking where can I eat sushi off a girl then you might want to learn a little more about the practice.

Is eating sushi off a woman even safe?

Here’s the thing. Sushi is raw fish, and requires the highest degree of attention and care in preparing. There are definitely sanitary considerations to keep in mind. From a purely food safety standpoint, you’re probably better off skipping the naked woman. Anyone even slightly squeamish about their food will be turned off by the idea of eating food off a woman.

Raw fish must be kept cool, and body heat will raise the temperature of the sushi. Some models take very cold showers before having the sushi arranged on themselves. As well, due to food safety laws the practice is almost always done using banana leaves or even a layer of plastic wrap between the woman and the sushi itself. This helps with reducing the effect of body heat. In a well attended event, the sushi is never staying for long on top of the woman. It is replaced usually before even ten minutes has elapsed.

What’s the appeal?

Customers vary from bachelor parties to large corporations holding team building sessions. It’s hard to argue against the fact that there is an exoticism to body sushi. Those drawn to it feel that it is novel, artistic, sensual, and most of all unusual. Body sushi is found at events like openings of expensive nightclubs that thrive on word of mouth and the buzz of being the newest, hottest thing around. There’s one thing for certain. It certainly is unique. When else will you be eating sushi off a woman?

Body sushi experiences often have alcohol involved. People trying it out for the first time will feel nervous at first. Alcohol lets people feel comfortable, but if customers start to push the boundary with lewd comments or touching the model, the practice can get ugly fast. Most of the companies have strict rules as to the hard and fast limits to the practice. In particular they enforce the no touching rule. Despite this, is it really so hard to imagine a situation where rich businessmen who are paying a hefty premium for the service may step over the bounds? There is certainly a power imbalance with a model who is relying on tips. I want to believe that all the companies offering naked sushi have strict standards and ethics, and I hope that this is pure speculation.

The visual appeal of sushi explains the popularity of the practice

Sushi has an edge. It’s visually appealing and has never lost its trendiness. People who are enjoying naked sushi like to have the idea in their head that the woman they are eating it off of has extensive training in the art of keeping perfectly still. In reality, many of the woman are given little to no training prior to the experience and may feel great pressure to get through the sometimes up to 5 hour event without moving. Is this really an art form or something less profound? The experience is going to be vastly different depending on which company you use.


Is body sushi even legal?

We do want to warn that there are loopholes in the law make it possible for shady businesses to skirt the law. These loopholes revolve around the fact that many people offering the service are simply catering rather than taking guests at an actual physical restaurant. It’s harder for regulatory bodies to enforce against catering services in many jurisdictions and “under the radar” operations are certainly an extra risk. You may find that while a company acquired licensing, they are not technically licensed sell the experience of eating sushi off a woman. If you ask about the companies licence and hear the word “loophole”, it’s probably best to turn tail. You need to be 100% certain that sushi is up to standards.

If you do decide to attend a nyotaimori event, whatever you do, don’t skimp on the price. Because risks are greater than a normal sushi experience, the freshness and quality are even more important than usual.

Body sushi controversies

While those defending body sushi would say that it is not about objectifying women and that there are even men who model for the process (called nantaimori), the majority of body sushi models are women. Events – at least the mainstream ones – have no touching or photographs. I personally will not judge a persons choices or voice an opinion of what a woman can or cannot do as employment.

Some feminists have called the practice objectifying and humiliating for women. Using a woman as a human sushi table is literally objectifying in that they are being used as furniture, or a human sushi platter. Eating sushi off a woman does have a distasteful ring to it. Do all the models feel this way? In some companies, models are highly paid, and may be some of the greatest defenders of the practice.

Body sushi purveyors use the idea that nyotaimori is an ancient art form in Japan and that it stems for a rich traditional background. As you have learnt, this doesn’t seem to hold much weight.

Warren Ransom

I have always been fascinated by the creation and culture of different foods, particularly sushi and sashimi in the modern era of Japanese cuisine. I am a classically trained chef and sushi connoisseur, also having operated a food service company and enjoy investigating and experimenting with food around the world.

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