It is one of the most criticized practices around the world, although some consider it an art form. This practice of eating sushi is not common in Japanese society but is said to have been more widespread with the yakuza (Japanese mafia), although recently we have seen a growth of this tasting practice in western countries, especially the United States importing with stricter rules. It is not uncommon for westerns to call it more like an Asian porn kind of thing, where you can eat sushi between some Asian tits.
Nyotaimori (Japanese:女体盛り, “presentation of the female body”), often referred to as “body sushi”, is the practice of serving sashimi or sushi on the body of a naked woman. This practice is not exclusive to women. For the same practice using a male model is given the name Nantaimori (Japanese:男体盛り). These bodies literally become “human trays.”
This rather ancient traditional practice in Japan, where geishas were trained to stand motionless for hours requires prior preparation. Before becoming a “human tray,” the model (usually a woman) is trained to lie still for hours without moving and be able to withstand prolonged exposure to cold food. Before service, the model must have taken a shower using a special unscented soap and then finished with a squirt of cold water to relax the body.
Practice around the world
In some parts of the world, in order to comply with sanitation laws, there must be a plastic film between the sushi and the model’s body. Other rules imposed on customers were that they were forbidden to talk to the model and were not allowed to touch him.
Another practice also carried out in some places is Wakamezake. The practice consists of drinking sake from the triangle formed between a woman’s legs and pubis. The name is chosen because of the pubic hair dipped in the sake, which resembles Wakame seaweed floating on the surface of the sea.
But the polemic continues to be great, and for women’s rights issues or for public health reasons some more conservative countries have canceled this practice as was the case in China. In the Philippines I learned that this practice also exists, just look it up on the internet.
Controversial or not, the lovers of this practice continue to defend and proclaim that Nyotaimori is a true artistic presentation, where each food is placed in its proper place giving it an aesthetic sense of its own.
Its practice in restaurants
This practice in Japan is done by rare restaurants, generally linked to the Japanese mafia, and was well covered in the media in the 90s. Other countries liked the idea and decided to join the nyotaimori, but they have stricter supervision regarding health surveillance.
The health surveillance forces many western restaurants to put transparent plastic between the body and the food, for hygiene reasons. Other rules have been imposed on the customers: they cannot talk to the “human tray”, much less molest it, or say anything offensive to it.
The woman must be totally depilated, except for the groin, and before the service, she is submitted to a hot bath with unscented soap and then to a cold shower, to cool down her body temperature and thus be able to keep the sushi and sashimi at a pleasant temperature.
Although the practice is usually done on women, there are places that offer sushi on male bodies and are called Nantaimori.