Akamutsu Sushi
Rosy seabass

akamutsu sushi

What is Akamutsu アカムツ【赤鯥】?

Akamutsu belongs to the family of lantern bellies and is highly valued in Japan as a premium seafood and sushi ingredient. Besides the name akamutsu it also carries the very common name nodoguro.

  Some connoisseurs refer to its meat as “white toro”, which is in no way inferior in taste and texture to the fatty meat of tuna.

Akamutsu for Sushi and Sashimi

Akamutsu owes its first-class reputation as a gourmet fish to its extremely high fat content. Under its skin is a distinctive layer of fat that gives the whitish meat a certain sweetness, hence its nickname "white toro". Whether raw or cooked, its meat has a unique and elegant taste. The meat is soft and has a wonderfully full-bodied umami taste. Akamutsu harmonizes very well with sushi rice (shari, しゃり) and is therefore appreciated not only as sashimi but also as nigiri sushi.

Best Season

Akamutsu is very tasty regardless of the season, but the best season is considered to be late winter to spring, before it spawns in late summer.. The fish is fatty regardless of the season and is popular throughout Japan, especially in urban areas.

Akamutsu in Japan

Akamutsu can be translated as red (aka, あか) and greasy (mutsukoi, むつこい), and thus describes the remarkable high fat content and the striking color of the fish.

In Hamada, a city in Shimane Prefecture on the Sea of Japan, akamutsu is known as nodoguro, a local specialty that is regularly mentioned in tourist guides. Its name nodoguro, loosely translated as "blackthroat", is due to the dark coloring on the back of its mouth. Nodoguro or akamutsu is mainly caught in the Sea of Japan, the side of Japan facing away from the Pacific Ocean, and is found along the coast from Toyama to Shimane and is appreciated as a regional delicacy throughout the Hokuriku region.

Akamutsu is considered sensitive to changes in its living conditions. Fluctuating water temperatures and changes in the supply of food are said to have a significant impact on the quality of the catch. Top specimens of akamutsu are traded at comparatively high prices, it is not unusual for particularly good specimen to achieve prices of up to over 10,000 ¥ per kilo.

Breeding of Akamutsu

In July 2013, a research group from the Nihonkai-ku Fisheries Research Institute announced that akamutsu had succeeded in being raised in aquaculture for the first time, allowing them to be transferred to their natural habitat. In February 2017, it was confirmed that one of the released Akamutsu juvenile fish was able to survive in the wild. The specimen was found as by-catch in the net of a shrimp fisher. The discovery raises hopes for a more stable market supply and the protection of natural stocks. On the other hand, it was also observed that there are very few females among the adult fish raised by artificial insemination. These and other aspects are still the subject of current research.

Characteristics & Ecology

Akamtusu lives in sea depths of 100 to 600 m and feeds mainly on smaller fishes as well as crustaceans and molluscs. The usual length is 30 cm with a maximum of 40 cm. Its range extends from the Japanese sea over the western Pacific Ocean to Australia.

  1. "Gonadosomatic index began to increase in June, and reached maximum between July to September. After spawning it began to decrease from October. Reproductive season was estimated to July-September, with peak in August." - Cha, H.-K. et al (2010) "Reproductive ecology of the blackthroat seaperch, Doderleinia berycoides (Hilgendorf) in South Sea of Korean waters," Journal of the Korean society of Fisheries Technology. The Korean Society of Fisheries and Ocean Technology, 46(4), pp. 368-375
  2. The term mutsu (むつ) comes from the meaning of mutsukkoi (むつっこい, Tukushima dialect) and means in other words greasy or strong in taste.
  3. As of July 30, 2020, 10 000 yen corresponds to approx 95 United States dollar at an exchange rate of 1 JPY = 0,0095 US-Dollar.


© イシ. のどぐろ(アカムツ)のさばき方~握り寿司とあら汁になるまで~how to fillet a Blackthroat seaperch and make sushi and soup. 2019-03-11, youTube.com



For copyright and author information, see the "Image Credits" section.


As a general rule, do not eat ingredients that are not explicitly labeled for raw consumption.

References & further reading

  • [Froese & Daniel, 2019]: Rainer Froese, Pauly Daniel. FishBase. The Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel, FishBase.org. 2019. Retrieved online on: December 24, 2020
  • [Fujiwara, 2020]: Masataka Fujiwara 昌髙藤原. Bozu Konyaku's Market Fish and Shellfish Book ぼうずコンニャクの市場魚貝類図鑑. Bozu Konnyaku Co., Ltd., Tokyo ぼうずコンニャク株式会社東京, zukan-bouz.com. 2020
  • [Kitanippon Shimbun, 2018]: Confirmation of survival of released blackthroat seaperch Prefectural Fisheries Research Institute off Toyama City (放流ノドグロの生存確認 富山市沖で県水産研). hokurikushinkansen-navi.jp, Kitanippon Shimbun (北日本新聞), Toyama (富山市). Retrieved online on: December 24, 2020: https://www.hokurikushinkansen-navi.jp/pc/news/article.php?id=NEWS0000013208
  • [Kōdansha, 2002]: A Complete Color Dictionary for Fish Connoisseurs (カラー完全版 魚の目利き食通事典). Kōdansha (講談社) + α Bunko, Tokyo. 2002
  • [Mochizuki, 2005]: Kenji Mochizuki (望月賢二). Illustrated fish and shellfish encyclopedia (図説魚と貝の事典). Fish Culture Research Association (魚類文化研究会), Kashiwashobo Publishing (柏書房), Tokyo. 2005
  • [Shikoku Shimbun, 2013]: Fisheries Research Institute (水産総研). Successful breeding of nodoguro fry, high-end fish expected to lead to stable supply (ノドグロ稚魚飼育成功/高級魚、安定供給へ期待). Shikoku News, shikoku-np.co.jp, The Shikoku Shimbun (四国新聞社), Takamatsu (高松市). 2013. Retrieved online on: December 24, 2020: https://www.shikoku-np.co.jp/national/science_environmental/20131122000654

Image credits



Drawn illustration for  akamutsu

Common names

rosy seabass, blackthroat seaperch

Japanese names

  • akamutsu (アカムツ)
  • gyousun (ギョウスン)
  • kingyouo (キンギョウオ)
  • mekin (メキン)
  • nodoguro (ノドグロ)

赤鯥, 赤鱫

Scientific name

Doederleinia berycoides




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