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Yoshio Okumura

Yoshio Okumura puts much of his time into supporting the struggling lake fishing industry, finding sustainable ways forward and developing new products to make use of fish that is overlooked or thrown out. In 2018 he developed a new style of funazushi with a local cheese maker - Cheese-Funazushi - combining two ancient fermenting processes to create a brand-new product from the abundant but hitherto unmarketable male crucian carp in the lake.

After university, Yoshio Okumura worked in the kitchen at restaurants in Osaka, including the Hilton, before joining the family preserved-fish business on the banks of Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa, when he was 25.

12 years later, he now goes to the fishing harbour on Oki Island on Lake Biwa every morning to procure fish directly from the boats, bringing it back to the mainland to be prepared and preserved as traditional ‘tsukudani’ pickles, and the original fermented sushi, “funazushi”, which does back over 1400 years.