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Osaka university partners with firms to sell goods made with discarded tuna skin

The Japan Times

OSAKA – Kindai University, which pioneered the artificial farming of bluefin tuna -- a pricy delicacy served as sushi -- is giving new life to the discarded skin of the precious fish by utilizing it for leather and cosmetics products. The Osaka Prefecture-based university and a leather company in neighboring Hyogo Prefecture have turned fish skin thrown away by restaurants in Tokyo and Osaka into such products as wallets, key cases and business card holders, which have been gaining in popularity for the leather, which retains the texture of fish scales. "We made the products with an elegant touch and unique shiny surface," said Hiroshi Yoneda, a 38-year-old designer at leather manufacturer Cordvan Co. The fish leather products have been sold under the brand name Piscine. While the skin of farmed bluefin tuna has the advantage of having little damage on its surface, the university and the company needed to overcome the difficulty of getting rid of its fishy smell.


With eye on overseas markets, Japanese caviar firms step up production

The Japan Times

MIYAZAKI – Homegrown production of caviar is on the increase in Japan after domestic producers stepped up efforts to improve their breeding technology for sturgeons in recent years in a bid to increase revenue from one of the world's most luxurious delicacies. The country's largest caviar producer, Miyazaki Prefecture-base Japan Caviar Inc., is a success story when it comes to mastering the production of caviar, the salted eggs of sturgeons. The company began exporting its first batch of domestically produced caviar earlier this month in an effort to break into overseas markets such as Asia, the U.S. and Europe. "I want Japanese-produced caviar to be a top brand globally," Motoo Sakamoto, president of Japan Caviar, said during a ceremony at Miyazaki Airport last Wednesday marking the maiden export of his firm's Miyazaki Caviar 1983 product. It was scheduled to be served at an upscale hotel in Hong Kong.


Japan team uses stem cells to spawn 1,700 trout from single fish

The Japan Times

A university team has succeeded in the first-ever mass proliferation of rainbow trout germ line stem cells (GSCs) in vitro, a technique that could pave the way for preservation of endangered fish and enable their mass production. The team at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology spawned some 1,700 rainbow trout after producing sperm and eggs using GSCs from just one of its males, it wrote in the Monday edition of Communications Biology, a science magazine published by Nature Research. "We can apply the methods within the next few years for conservation projects of Salmonidae similar to rainbow trout," said Goro Yoshizaki, a professor of marine biology and resources at the university who led the team. "We are also aiming to realize its application to bluefin tuna within around five years," he said. The team had succeeded in producing adult fish using sperm and eggs from GSCs of rainbow trout, and the latest achievement will make it unnecessary for scientists to catch adult fish time and again so as to obtain the GSCs.


Nippon Suisan joins market for fully farmed bluefin

The Japan Times

Nippon Suisan Kaisha Ltd. is to begin selling bluefin tuna farmed from egg to adulthood after developing a way to mass produce the fish. Sales will begin in winter 2017, with the marine products maker expecting to ship 10,000 tuna, or 500 tons, in the fiscal year starting April 2018 and double that in the following year. It is not the first enterprise to succeed in the potentially giant farming industry: Kindai University and Maruha Nichiro Corp. have already commercialized fully farmed bluefin tuna. Nippon Suisan's Oita Marine Biological Technology Center began trials of full-lifespan farming in 2014. It succeeded this month in mass producing tuna fry using unique culturing techniques, repeating its success from last year and confirming the viability of the process.


Japan's Kinki University changes name to silence the jokes

The Japan Times

OSAKA – In a move aimed at sparing its students and faculty embarrassment, a private university on Friday ditched its distracting English name for a more benign moniker. Kinki University in Osaka Prefecture became Kindai University, holding a ceremony to unveil a plate bearing the new name in English at one of its gates. School athletes wearing uniforms bearing the new name attended the ceremony. The decision to change the name was made two years ago. As the university had been placing greater emphasis on foreign languages and international studies, it believed the previous English name was off-putting to foreign students.