Let me introduce you to the Sushi Police, a team of Japanese anti-heroes who are not cool, not fair, and not brave, fighting against the powers of sushi overseas. Sushi Police (pronounced sushi-porisu) is a lively 3DCG animated television series inspired by the real-life drama that happened in 2006 when the Japanese government attempted to authenticate global Japan cuisine and prevent bastardized sushi like Los Angeles’s famous California Rolls.
On a larger scale, Sushi Police asks a pressing question- what rights does a country have to its cuisine once it has left the border? Cross-cultural culinary pollination can create startlingly delicious new recipes but can also have drawbacks. Back in 2006, officials were especially worried about the low standard global restaurants were setting, anxious that it reflected badly on Japanese culture.
In a Washington Post article from 2006, the Japanese agriculture minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka spoke in regards to his “Japanese restaurant authentication program”, explaining “What people need to understand is that real Japanese food is a highly developed art. It involves all the senses; it should be beautifully presented, use genuine ingredients and be made by a trained chef,” he continued. “What we are seeing now are restaurants that pretend to offer Japanese cooking but are really Korean, Chinese or Filipino. We must protect our food culture…We take our food very seriously.”
If you’ve ever watched the movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi, then you know the great care and mastery required to create a single slice of sashimi. In Japan, it is a rough reality that good sushi is also expensive sushi.
In the story, Japan created WFCO (World Food-culture Conservation Organization) and sent inspectors from the 9th division, known as the “Sushi Police”, to judge whether Japanese fare overseas is authentic. The series features three sly yet somehow lovable inspectors who portray the prototypical Japanese businessman workaholic. These three men in ties and suits are Captain Honda, Suzuki, the brains, and Kawasaki, the android officer.
The game even has a cat called Madam Fuji, who is a snooty looking Persian cat with tiny eyebrows sporting a spotted ribbon and full geisha headgear, including specially waxed hair and a traditional kanzashi comb. With an intriguing cast, roots in reality, and delicious plot twists, Sushi Police promises to be a wild ride. Already, it has won the 2015 Cannes Poster Awards. Its inception marks the 20th anniversary of TOKYO MX.
On January 6th, shortly after the Japanese New Year, the animation will begin broadcasting. Sushi Police will show every Wednesday at 1 am on TOKYO MX. On January 7th, it will be distributed on a plethora of platforms including Google Play and Amazon. For now, you can sit and squirm and wait or download their wallpaper to adorn your smartphone or laptop.