A viral ‘sushi terrorism’ trend has nearly crippled an iconic Japanese food industry, prompting arrests and reforms after unsanitary pranks spread.
Last year, viral videos began appearing on social media showing people at Japanese conveyor belt sushi restaurants “kaitenzushi” wiping saliva off plates of fish, drinking from communal cups of soy sauce and spraying disinfectant on hands on the food as the plates passed.
Those pranks eventually led to the arrest of three people in Aichi, a Japanese prefecture in central Honshu island, according to a Thursday report from NBC News. The two men, aged 21 and 19, and a 15-year-old girl were caught after being linked to a viral video showing them drinking soy sauce straight from a communal cup last month at a Kura venue sushi
SUSHI STACKS ARE TRENDING ON TIKTOK: TRY THE RECIPE
The viral trend has shaken the country’s multibillion-dollar kaitenzushi industry, long known for high standards of cleanliness, sending shares of the companies that own the establishments plummeting and prompting reforms for the restaurants that are so beloved in Japanese culture. .
Choshimaru, a chain of kaitenzushi establishments located around Tokyo, said it would phase out its conveyor belt system by the end of April as a result of the pranks, switching to a system that forces customers to use a of touch panels.
TIKTOKERS ARE MAKING ‘OREO SUSHI,’ A RISE TREND FOR NO-BAKED DESSERTS
Meanwhile, Kura Sushi vowed to do everything possible to protect the conveyor belt sushi model, expressing optimism that the recent arrests will deter copycat pranks and put an end to the viral trend.
“We sincerely hope that this arrest serves as a catalyst for widespread public recognition of the ‘crime’ of disturbing behavior that shakes the very foundations of the system based on the relationship of trust with our customers, and we sincerely hope that there will be no further crimes imitation,” the company told NBC News.