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Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011

TV celebrity Sakana-kun to be appointed 'fish ambassador'

Staff report

Sakana-kun, the fish expert and TV figure well-known for his blowfish-shaped cap, is about to become Japan's "osakana taishi" (fish ambassador) to promote fish consumption and boost the declining industry.

News photo
If the cap fits: Fish expert and TV celebrity Sakana-kun speaks during a December news conference in Tokyo. KYODO PHOTO

Sakana-kun, a visiting associate professor at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, recently rediscovered "kunimasu," a type of salmon also known as black "kokanee," at Lake Saiko in Yamanashi Prefecture. The species was thought to have gone extinct.

The farm ministry expects Sakana-kun to "send out information" about fish, the fishing industry and related government policies, it said in a statement. Fish has been declining as a staple amid a shift to more Western diets.

Sakana-kun, whose real name is Masayuki Miyazawa, was to be formally appointed to the honorary position by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry on Monday.

Miyazawa is a frequent fixture on TV shows, where he talks passionately about and displays his abundant knowledge of fish. He is also an illustrator who has penned a number of books on fish.

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