History, meaning and kinds of kappa-maki

kappa maki (kappa roll) kappa demon decorative kappa cucumber

What is Kappa-maki and Kappa?

There are various sushi rolls in Japan, Tekka-maki, Kanpyo-maki, Natto-maki and more. Kappa-maki also called Kappa for short is one of the famous sushi rolls. It often consists only rice, seaweed and cucumber. However, it is sometimes added some seasonings, sesame, green shiso or miso (bean paste).

The first sushi restaurant serving Kappa-maki is Yahata-zushi opens from 1868 in Tokyo. The fourth-generation chef of this sushi restaurant began to serve it from 1950s. He served it because of the shortage in the postwar period. It became popular soon, and it was served by many sushi restaurants. However, it was not called Kappa-maki but Kyuri-maki then. Kyuri means cucumber in English.

It is not certain when Japanese called this sushi Kappa-maki, but there are three theories why Japanese called it Kappa-maki. The first theory of that is Kappa which is a demon in traditional Japanese folklore likes eating a cucumber. The second theory is that the crest of Suitengu looks like section of cucumber. Suitengu is the palace of water deva, and is the main place of Kappa. The third theory is that Kappa lands with his body swathed in cucumbers because he must be always wet. Maki of Kappa-maki means swathing, wrapping or rolling.

kappa demon (kappa yokai)

Kappa-maki is still called Kyuri-maki in some sushi restaurants. The reason of that is not only to keep tradition but also to avoid reminding other sushi restaurant. There is the large chain sushi restaurant named Kappa-sushi in Japan.

Kappa-maki is very simple sushi, and is sometimes made as home cooking. It tastes almost same in many blet conveyor sushi restaurants. However, the taste of it made by high-class sushi restaurants is different from them. These sushi restaurants use some thinly sliced cucumbers and some seasonings like sesame or green shiso. It tastes like spring roll because of thinly sliced cucumbers. In addition, some sushi restaurants make a decorative cucumber like Kappa.

decorative kappa maki

You can enjoy Kappa-maki when you travel Japan. If you like sushi and conveyor belt sushi restaurant, you can invest it. Food and life companies (TYO:3563) and Kura Sushi Inc (TYO:2695) are listed in Tokyo Stock Exchange. These companies are also included some ETFs for investing Japanese companies.