Home WORLD How the Japanese Craft the World’s Hardest Food

How the Japanese Craft the World’s Hardest Food

Katsuobushi is a unique and essential staple of Japanese cuisine. For the uninitiated, this seafood delicacy amounts to dried, fermented and smoked skipjack tuna that is used as a shaved condiment over many traditional dishes.

image/text credit: Great Big Story 

And while it is ubiquitous in Japan, katsuobushi is not something people make at home. In fact, it takes nearly six months to make, and is most often produced by artisans and small factories. Takashi Suzuki is one such artisan, who has been making the fish product for the past 30 years.

In his Yaizu-based factory, he continues to uphold traditional methods of production in the belief that a bit of extra care and attention can make the most delicious katsuobushi.


Katsuobushi is made from a fish called skipjack tuna or bonito in English. It’s katsuo in Japanese, reflected in its Latin name, Katsuwonus pelamis. As with any food with a long history, there are different types and many regional variations in how it’s produced.