Fishy interlude: An amazingly detailed model of a Tsukiji market maguro (tuna) by Hobbystock

Since we are in the middle of the Fish section of Japanese Cooking 101, here's an interesting story about a plastic model of...a fish. Sounds weird, you say? Well you have to see this to believe it. It's made by a figurine and model maker called Hobbystock, and designed by a 3rd generation Tsukiji market wholesale company called Yamawa.


The model is 33cm (about 13 inches) long. Not as big as a full size bluefin tuna at the Tsukiji Market - the type that fetches thousands of dollars - but still pretty hefty. It comes packaged in a realistic looking box, packed in styrofoam, rather like you might get a fresh fish direct from a supplier in Japan.


And, it comes completely apart, exactly how a real tuna is cut up by a professional. It re-assembles again of course, and can be displayed on the included display stand.


It looks like a neat way to teach your kids, or yourself too, how to cut up a fish, don't you think? Well..the kicker is that this amazingly detailed model costs 29,400 yen - that's about US$295. So it's clearly not a toy. Maybe an ultimate display item for a fish shop, or a sushi restaurant? It's not quite clear who the intended audience is for this. I'd love to take a look at it in person though.

You can see more pictures here, here and here. (Hat tip to Francesco.)


Looks like it's made to teach chefs how to cut up a tuna, doesn't it?

Wow, that is one good looking model! is it made out of plastic? I wonder whether they would be using it as a teaching tool to teach fishmongers (though I think cutting up a real fish would be a lot cheaper...) Thanks for sharing, you always have interesting posts!

In the case of a bluefin tuna, maybe this model is cheaper ^_^;

You know, I actually, think I have a theory about what this is for. It's a teaching aid.

No, wait-- hear me out. As highly respected as a sushi chef might be, they do have one person that they depend on above all others-- the fishmonger they must buy from. And even if they buy whole fish (unusual, but it does happen) they need to learn how to cut them up-- and often to teach others.

I think this might be like a medical model, to show new and aspiring fishmongers and chefs how to cut one up properly, and how to portion it.

Thoughts on this wild speculation?

I really don't know...I think it's still a toy, since you need to physically cut up a fish to know how to well, cut up a fish. Could be used for educational purposes, for sure.

It's a teaching aid. I saw a program about Tsukiji Fish Market; the model's designer is a tuna wholesaler named Watanabe-san who wanted to teach others the proper way to dissect tuna, and where each type of cut comes from on the fish. I want one!