Founded in Japan in 1937, Kyokuyo is a global leader in the production, sale and processing of fresh and frozen seafood. It launched its American operations in Seattle, Washington in 1971 as a procurement office for its headquarters in Japan. A few years ago, detecting a growing fondness for Japanese food among Americans, it began importing various sushi ingredients to the U.S.
“We saw that Americans loved sushi and sashimi and recognized the need for higher-quality food in the Japanese restaurants here in the U.S. We saw an opportunity there,” Kyokuyo America President Toshimitsu Hishinuma said.
Last year, Kyokuyo introduced its newest product, Tunagu, closed-cycle farmed bluefin tuna sourced from Ehime Prefecture. The company spent 30 years, in a joint venture with aqua feed maker Feed One, to successfully breed farm-raised bluefin tuna.
“In the U.S., customers are focused on sustainability and this is what we provide through Tunagu, sustainability, as well as quality,” Hishinuma said.
Kyokuyo’s Tunagu is delivered fresh to Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, New York and Boston on a weekly basis.
“We just jumped into the sales in the U.S., but I feel a lot of potential here. While Japan’s bluefin tuna is more expensive than that from Mexico and the Mediterranean, Americans understand the difference in quality and the importance of sustainability,” Hishinuma said.