Shusse uo career fish


"Career Fish", promoting fish (shusse-uo)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Topic
***** Category: Humanity


"fish promoting in life as they grow larger"
fish having success in life (shusse) as they grow older
しゅっせうお【出世魚】 shusse uo, shusseuo

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Fisch der "Karriere macht"
sucessfull fish, erfolgreicher Fisch
promoting fish
fish that rise in rank
fish of advancement
ascending fish

What kind of career and promotion, you may ask?

Well, as they grow up they change their name, and some say, the flavor when used in food, they have noticably distinct flavor profiles as they mature.

In former times it was custom to cook such fish when a boy was born and later celebrated his "coming of age" ceremony.
The traditional GENPUKU げんぷく【元服】 of a samurai boy was celebrated according to family and political situation when the boy was around 11 to 16 years.
Also when advancing in their carreer the samurai would change name frequently and thus celebrate with an appropriate fish dish with such an auspicious fish of his region.

A katagaki, kata-gaki かたがき【肩書】official position, degree or title is very important and always written on your meishi, visitor's card. It is literally the "writing on your shoulder" and defines your social position.

These fish were also eaten for the New Year celebrations.

The most common "fish with a promotion" were
buri . yellow tail
suzuki . sea bass
bora . gray mullet
iwashi . sardines

They were called with different names as they grew larger and were sold on the market with these different names. There are also many regional variations about these fish names.

The latin name for these fish does not change when they grow older and refers to the grown-up fish.


maguro マグロ, the tuna fish, does change its name, but is not counted among the shusse-uo.
This holds for unagi eel and shake salmons too.


出世魚の例 Examples of Shusse-uo

ブリ buri , yellowtail
ブリは、硬骨魚綱 スズキ目 アジ科に属する魚。

ワカシ ukashi :15 cm くらいまでのもの
イナダ inada :40 cm くらい(夏に旨い)
ワラサ urasa :60 cm くらい
ブリ buri :90 cm 以上(夏は味が落ちる)
関東:ワカシ → イナダ → ワラサ → ブリ
関西:ツバス → ハマチ(hamachi) → メジロ → ブリ
東北:ツベ → イナダ → アオ → ブリ
下北地方:フクラギ → イナダ → ワラサ → ブリ
北陸:ツバエリ → コズクラ → フクラギ → アオブリ → ハナジロ → ブリ
富山県:ツバイソ → コズクラ → フクラギ → ガンド → ブリ
山陰:ショウジゴ → ワカナ → メジロ → ハマチ → ブリ
四国:ヤズ → ハマチ → ブリ
九州:ワカナゴ → ヤズ → ハマチ → メジロ → ブリ → オオウオ

. Sea bass (suzuki)  
Lateolabrax japonicus
スズキは、硬骨魚綱 スズキ目 スズキ科に属する魚

セイゴ → フッコ → スズキ → オオタロウ
関西:セイゴ → ハネ → スズキ

ボラ bora. striped mullet, black mullet, springer
ボラは、硬骨魚綱 ボラ目 ボラ科に属する魚

オボコ → スバシリ → イナ → ボラ → トド
関東:オボコ → イナッコ → スバシリ → イナ → ボラ → トド
関西:ハク → オボコ → スバシリ → イナ → ボラ → トド
高知:イキナゴ → コボラ → イナ → ボラ → オオボラ
東北:コツブラ → ツボ → ミョウゲチ → ボラ

マイワシ ma-iwashi Sardines
イワシは、 硬骨魚綱 ニシン目ニシン科に属する魚

シラス→ カエリ→コバ→チュウバ→オオバ

シラス:白子 shirasu 、稚魚、1cm未満  (マシラスとも)
カエリ:若魚、数cm  (アオコ、ヒラゴとも)
コバ :小羽、   10cm前後
チュウバ:中羽   15cm前後
オオバ:大羽    20cm前後

その他 Others
コノシロ 出世魚に含めない考え方もある。
コイ コイは登竜門の伝説から出世魚と呼ばれることもあるが名前が変わるわけではない。
source : wkp.fresheye.com/wikipedia

Worldwide use

Fische, die je nach Alter anders genannt werden

Gelbschwanz, Seriola quinqueradiata
Der Gelbschwanz gehört zu den glückverheißenden Fischen, die „Karriere machen“ (shusse uo), das heißt, er wechselt je nach Körperlänge seinen Namen. Bis zu 35 Zentimeter heißt er in Westjapan TSUBASU, von 35 bis 60 Zentimeter HAMACHI, von 60 bis 80 Zentimeter MEJIRO oder MARUGO. Der erwachsene Fisch von mehr als 80 Zentimeter Länge ist dann der BURI.

Weil er als glückverheißender Fisch angesehen wird, ein Fisch der „Karriere macht“ und bei jedem Neujahrsfest „ein Jahr älter wird“, wird er bei Festessen bevorzugt gegessen. Der Gelbschwanz darf in der Neujahrsuppe von Westjapan (zooni) nicht fehlen.

Japanische Königsmakrele, Scomberomorus niphonius
Die Königsmakrele gehört zur Familie der saba-Makrelen. Sie wird je nach Länge anders benannt und gehört so zu den glückverheißenden Fischen, die „Karriere machen“ (shusse uo). Bis zu 40 bis 50 Zentimeter heißt sie SAGOSHI, von 50 bis 60 Zentimeter NAGI und mehr als 60 Zentimeter ist es dann die Königskmakrele, SAWARA. Sie kann bis zu 115 Zentimeter lang werden und bis zu 13 Kilogramm wiegen, die weiblichen Fische sind etwas größer wie die männlichen.

Things found on the way

. Shussebora  出世ボラ / 出世螺 Shusse Horagai .
From a conch shell to a Dragon !


small towel with fish

ぶり はまち、元はいなだの出世魚
buri hamachi moto wa inada no shusse-uo

yellowtail, young yellowtail
originally it was inada . . .
fish rising in rank

anonymous senryu


shusse-uo wan ni hamidasu zooni kana

the career fish
hangs out of the bowl -
new year's soup

Takahashi Tokieda 高橋時枝

Related words


***** WASHOKU : General Information

shussesakana, shusse sakana




Anonymous said...

Gabi san、
Very nice translation.
I learned zooni as New Year’s soup that sound fresh and warm.
Thank you for sharing.
(translating haiku forum)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the information, Gabi. I could not imagine that fish could be "promoted". :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Gabi san,
It was great to know fish also have a career and get promoted with age.
Regards From India

Gabi Greve said...

Sugoroku for Success in the First Sale of the New Year
(Hatsuakinai Shusse Sugoroku 初商出世双六)


Gabi Greve said...

A legend from Nagaasaki ;
. kitsune densetsu 狐と伝説 fox legends .

Once a fox wanted to cross from 対馬 Tsushima island to the mainland.
It shape-shifted into a human and got on a fishing boat.
Since the fox was hungry, he ate the eye of buri ブリ a yellowtail.
On land the fox-human walked around the city and said :
"If you eat an eye of a yellowtail, you will not get ill from densenbyoo 伝染病 a pandemic."
The people heard this and went to the boat to buy all the yellowtails.
This was the gesture of gratitude from the fox.