Sushi is at the heart of Japanese culture. So, too, are the 20 masters portrayed in Sushi Shokunin, my new book being published this month by Assouline. There is no single English word that adequately conveys the meaning of shokunin; while it is typically translated as “craftsman” or “artisan,” these definitions fail to express the magnitude and breadth of the Japanese term. Inherent in a more exacting translation, “master craftsman,” is a glimmer of the more expansive nature of true shokunin: concurrently, they are altruistic leaders, teachers, and artists of tremendous spirit and skill, who strive for excellence not only for themselves, but also for the benefit of others—their families, apprentices, customers, communities and regions.
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September - October 2020