Summer in Japan is very hot and uncomfortable. There is a custom to eat eel on a particular day of summer so as not to lose its heat. This custom is also a success example of the oldest product promotion in Japan.
To sell eel which can not be sold
In the hot summer, the eel also becomes thin and it becomes unpleasant. As a result, eel shops 300 years ago had been suffering from a decrease in sales in the summer. So when an eel restaurant in Tokyo consulted inventor Hiraga Gennai, he devised a propaganda that would be healthy if you eat eel in Ox Day (Chinese Calendar).
Baked eel is also sold in Shinjuku Kabukicho
This publicity was a huge success, and since then customs in Japan to eat eel in late July have settled. Even now this custom is continuing, and on this day a large amount of eel is sold at fresh fish shops and supermarkets throughout the country. According to the statistical survey by the government, about 15% of the eel consumption in one year is consumed in the Ox Day.
Japanese eel is an endangered species
However, there are many problems. Eel continues to be overfished in recent years, and the number of individuals has drastically decreased. There is no established way to hatch and grow eggs, and you need to capture wild larvae to nurture cultured eels.
Valuable fry fishes prices continue to soar, sometimes setting a price of 1 million yen per 1kg. Therefore, many poached fishery, it is also the cause of overfishing. The problem of fry fishes decrease is serious, and customs that eat eel are considered to end in the near future as it is. Recently the prices of eels have soared so much that the number of families who eat catfish and Sanma on this day is on the rise.
However, supermarkets, convenience stores, and fast food stores sell a large amount of eels as an eye-catching item in the summer season, and it can not be said that Japanese are seriously considering extinction of eels.