Ike Jime The Japanese Slaughter Method for Tastier Fish

Ike Jime is a humane method of killing fish and draining its blood. The method originated in Japan, and when performed correctly, this method not only preserves the quality and texture of the meat, but also allows the flesh to develop an umami dimension when aged.

The Ike Jime technique is a method designed to mitigate the effects of biochemical reactions. This method disrupts the brain and the spinal cord and causes immediate brain death of the fish. When performed correctly, the method prevents the fish from producing lactic acid and ammonia, which makes the fish soggy and sour. The technique was developed approximately 350 years ago, and Japanese chefs have used this method ever since.

The key to good sushi and sashimi is the aging of the fish, which allows enzymes to break down and moisture to evaporate, resulting in a more concentrated flavor. While the technique originated in Japan, it is now used around the world.

The science of ike jime

The principal behind Ike Jime is simple – the less trauma a fish suffers prior to and during its slaughter, the better the quality of its meat. When a fish faces stress, it produces lactic acid and cortisol which makes its meat soggy and sour. The Ike Jime method disrupts the brain and spinal cord which minimises the stress signals that are sent out.

How is it done?

There are many variations of Ike Jime, however the method is just four simple steps. The entire process is done quickly, and expert fish handlers can finish the entire process is seconds.

Step 1 : Close the Fish

Closing the fish is referring to the act of crushing the brain. You will need to locate the brain which is above the fish’s eye, and use a spike to break through the skull. If done correctly, the fish will shudder and its jaw will drop open. This step must be done quickly and swiftly so the brain doesn’t have a chance to send out stress signals to the rest of its body.

Step 2 : Cut the Gills and Tail

A fish’s major blood vessels are located at its gills, and cutting the gills lets the blood drain later. The next step is to make an incision towards the tail which is vital in locating the fish’s central nervous system.

Step 3 : Severe the Spinal Cord

The next step is to push a sharp wire into the spinal cord of the fish and run the tip along the upper side. As you go along the spine, the fish will tremble. Once the trembling stops, this process is complete. Destroying the fish’s central nervous system is a vital step as it prevents the fish from sending out more stress signals.

Step 4 : Let It Bleed

The most crucial part of this method is the bleeding, because ‘fishiness’ and bad flavours are in the blood. To drain the fish of its blood, simply leave it in iced water with its head facing down where possible. Its important to bleed. The fish quickly so none of the blood gets to its muscles.

Ike Jime is a technique that takes a lot of practice and repetition to perfect. As you perform it more and more, it will become easier and change the way you cook. To begin performing Ike Jime, you’ll need the right equipment and tools for the species and size of fish that you will be working on. Having the right tools make performing Ike Jime easier, especially if you are not a professional. Enjoy your day!

History of Shigeki Tanaka Knives

Shigeki Tanaka knives are manufactured in an old-fashioned workshop in Miki City, Hyōgo Prefecture by Shigeki Tanaka and a small team of his employees. The knives are known for its unique designs and are forged through traditional techniques that have been passed down through generations.

History of Shigeki Tanaka Knives

A fourth generation blacksmith, Shigeki Tanaka’s knives are well-known not only in Japan, but also around the world. His great grandfather, Mr. Gentaro, started making sickles during the Meiji Period, and Tanaka’s grandfather and father also specialized in manufacturing sickles. Born into a family of blacksmiths, it’s no surprise Tanaka followed in their footsteps and also became a successful blacksmith as it seemed this was his destiny. In 1995, Shigeki was just a child when his grandfather, father, and uncle started a company together, and this is where Shigeki’s desire to become a blacksmith began. To develop the skills required and further hone his talent, Shigeki moved from his hometown of Miki to Takefu, Fukui Prefecture to study the art of blacksmithing. It was in Takefu where Shigeki would learn and develop most of his knowledge and skills, as the town of Takefu is famous for having over 700 years of forging history and where many traditional forging techniques were developed. After three years of training, Shigeki would return to Miki City to work at his family’s factory. In 1999, Shigeki would begin transitioning to manufacture kitchen knives under the brand Shigeki-saku.

With the demand for sickles decreasing, the family began producing kitchen knives as an extra source of income, and in 2000, the company was renamed to Tanaka Kazayuki Blade Manufacturing Co. Once Shigeki took control of the company after his father passed away, he began focusing on manufacturing high-quality, handmade knives which would attract much attention amongst blacksmiths in the city. As his knives grew in popularity, many chefs would begin taking notice and not only use the knives, but recommend them as well. Shigeki would also produce unique knives that mixed modern culture with traditional designs.
One special collection of knives produced by Shigeki that attracted the interest of the public, in particular Generation Z, was his Gothic Knife Series. This line of knives mixed Japanese Gothic-Lolita fashion with traditional craft, and would further fuel the brand’s popularity due to its uniqueness.

Features of Shigeki Tanaka knives

Another one of Shigeki’s popular knives is the Juliette. In the media and on the internet, this knife is known as the “Lolita Knife” or “Goth-Loli Knife”. This knife is a new style of Japanese knives, and was create to appealing more to the younger Japanese generation. While the knife has caught the public’s attention, it is still a very capable knife that’s handy in the kitchen, features sharp edges, and is forged using traditional techniques.

Mikhail is also another uniquely designed kitchen knife produced by Shigeki Tanaka. The knife was designed on the image of an angel dressed like a bride, and the wings were crafted in a way to look as if they were falling. The blade has a cross cut out, and there is a chain on the knife. Both the blade and the accessory can be removed, and the knife is made of Damascus steel.
A fourth generation blacksmith, Shigeki Tanaka has successfully led the company his grandfather started into the modern era while retaining its heritage by producing knives which appeal to the public, and in particular, Generation Z. His unique designs has brought his company and its knives considerable publicity. Despite this, Shigeki continues to operate out of a small, old-fashioned workshop and hand makes all his knives, which continue to be high-quality, well-received, and reliable. If you’re looking for a unique kitchen knife, Shigeki-saku is a brand you need to check out.