Why aren’t there any female sushi chefs working at Jiro Ono’s celebrated Tokyo restaurant Sukiyabashi Jiro? Answer: menstruation.

While researching a story on the dearth of female sushi chefs, Business Insider‘s April Walloga unearthed an unsettling quote from a 2011 Wall Street Journal interview with Jiro Ono’s son Yoshikazu Ono. When asked why there were no female sushi chefs at his father’s $300-per-person restaurant, Ono immediately offered some scientific insight,

“The reason is because women menstruate. To be a professional means to have a steady taste in your food, but because of the menstrual cycle, women have an imbalance in their taste, and that’s why women can’t be sushi chefs.”


Unfortunately, this sexism is pervasive in Japanese society, spawning a number of myths that give a pulse to the patriarchy within the sushi industry. Another unscientific explanation for women’s ineptness in the sushi world is their small, warm hands, which makes the rice too warm. Another b.s. explanation: women’s perfume and makeup mess up their olfactory senses.

Fortunately, there are female sushi chefs out there like wonderwoman Miki Izumisawa who are putting an end to the absurd myths of the sushi world. Watch a VICE Munchies video on chef Izumisawa below.


[via NextShark]