A new viral video trend named ‘sushi terrorism’ is causing massive alarm, outrage, and even financial instability in Japan.

A prank too far

A new video trend has emerged in Japan where customers at popular conveyor belt sushi restaurants (known as kaitensushi) are filming themselves, whilst deliberately sabotaging the communal condiments and cutlery as well as other customers’ orders. The term for this new craze has become known as sushi terrorism.

As part of this new video prank, young men — in most cases — can be seen licking the rims of prepared bowls and the lid of communal soy sauce bottles. As well as this, they can even be seen touching, eating, and spreading saliva on other customers’ sushi as they flow past on the conveyor belt. 

These acts which are absolutely disgusting, and potentially even dangerous due to covid and other hygiene issues, are causing outrage on Japanese social media and even further afield.

The reaction has seen some Japanese citizens shun visiting some sushi restaurants. The main establishment seen in the videos known as Sushiro and its parent company Food & Life Companies Co Ltd, also saw its shares fall by almost 5%.

In light of these surfacing videos, Sushiro, as well as some other conveyor belt sushi chains, are pursuing criminal charges. The chain also released a statement saying that it has replaced all of the soy sauce bottles in the affected restaurant. 

For those who want to see these things for yourselves; a Singaporean news group has a short video showing some of what’s been unfolding. You can view it here as a YouTube short.

Changing the industry

Following on from the exposure of these pranking videos, companies are having to adjust their practices to alleviate alarm and reassure their customers. 

Sushiro is planning on replacing the iconic revolving sushi with pictures of the food instead — showcasing what you can order. They are also putting acrylic screens between seating and the conveyor belt itself to limit potential touching etc. Another sushi chain affected by several incidents, Kura Sushi, is planning to install cameras that can detect tampering.

While it is good to see that conveyor belt sushi restaurants are taking the situation seriously and installing methods to combat similar incidents (hopefully there won’t be), it’s also a bit of a shame to see something quite unique being taken away due to the actions of a few and the overextending prank culture that is becoming more prevalent for the sake of a TikiTok video.