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Akami-zakana and Shiromi-zakana (赤身魚と白身魚 – Fish with Red Flesh and Fish with White Flesh)

  • In Japan, fish is often classified into two categories; akami-zakana (赤身魚 – fish having red flesh) and shiromi-zakana (白身魚 – fish having white flesh).
    (Strictly speaking, the classification is based on the amount of hemoglobin or myoglobin contained in the flesh.)


    Akami-zakana, such as scads, mackerels, sauries and tunas, have a deep taste, contain a lot of fat, and are rich in iron.

    On the other hand, shiromi-zakana, such as porgies, flatfishes, pufferfish and salmons, are balnd in taste, low in fat and rich in protein.

    Salmons are often misunderstood as akami-zakana because of the reddish color of the flesh, but it’s because they eat plankton called krill containing red pigment.

    Incidentally, fishes having blue back, such as scads and mackerels, are also called “ao-zakana” (青魚 – blue fish).

    Original sentence