I wonder how many of you reading this know that Suzumo Machinery created our first sushi-making robot back in 1981, when eating sushi was reserved solely for special occasions – even among Japanese people.
Since antiquity, rice has been an integral staple of the Japanese diet. Here too, at Suzumo, our unwavering passion for rice has long been at the core of our corporate identity. In fact, it was a decline in rice consumption levels that sparked our creativity, leading us to come up with our first sushi-making robot. We had the hopeful notion that we could save this important part of Japanese food culture by granting anyone the ability to make sushi at an affordable cost. Our passion for rice is why we dedicated ourselves to creating machines that would do more than just streamline the sushi-making process – we wanted to ensure, first and foremost, that our sushi-making robots would produce something undeniably delicious. Today, rather than enjoying sushi at high-end restaurants, Japanese people are far more likely to consume sushi as families, at reasonably-priced conveyor belt sushi restaurants, or by buying inexpensive offerings from their local supermarket, convenience store, takeout shop or home delivery outlet. The ubiquity of sushi-making machines has driven down the cost of production, while establishing sushi as a fundamental part of the daily eating habits of millions of people. At Suzumo, we believe this development should never come at the expense of great-tasting food.
People throughout the world are now familiar with sushi. Now, whenever someone speaks of“Japanese cuisine,” the first thing that comes to mind is “sushi.” The global rise in health consciousness and foodie culture has attracted further interest in the dietary habits of Japan. And yet, the fact remains, that while most of the world is familiar with other cuisines – like those of France or China – people around the world remain largely unfamiliar with the wealth of Japanese cuisine in all of its dimensions. What’s more is that it can be hard to find good sushi in countries that have few properly trained sushi chefs. Our goal is to position Japanese food as a truly cross-cultural staple in the global diet. We dream that one day everyone in the world will be able to enjoy authentic Japanese food, as of now only available in Japan. For this reason, we at Suzumo see it as our mission to make our technology and know-how available to everyone in the business of serving sushi or Japanese cuisine.
I believe that in order to cement Japanese cuisine and sushi as a staple of the global diet, we need to open our minds to the idea that Japanese food is not exclusive to Japan. Japanese cuisine truly flourishes when it is malleable and open to fusion with other region’s local cuisine. On trips abroad, I have been pleasantly surprised by the dishes presented as Japanese food. It is wonderful to enjoy new variations on classic Japanese dishes, tweaked by local tastes and cultural preferences. We are working to develop a broad range of high-quality products that will satisfy national and regional safety standards, while allowing any cook free rein to delve deep into their culinary ingenuity and originality.
The numerous applications of our machines reach far beyond the scope of sushi-making, as sushi is hardly the only dish containing rice. There are plenty of other fantastic dishes – onigiri (rice balls), bentō (boxed lunches), and rice burgers, to name a few. We hope that people all over the world will have the chance to indulge in all the delicious dishes Japanese has to offer. For this reason, we see ourselves as not just a manufacturer of machines, but as a culinary ambassador to the food culture of Japan.