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The history of a shark skin grater
When sushi and soba noodle cultures were popularized in the end of Edo era,wasabi was carried by people or a horse drawn cart to Ito harbor from Amagi mountain and then shipped to Nihonbashi, Edo.
The processing technique for wooden surface used by carpenters gave tradesmen and cooks the idea to make a shark skin grater as tool to grate fresh wasabi roots up.
At that time they didn't have the adhesives we use today so tacks were generally used for tanning a shark skin on a big board.
Our shark skin graters with tacks are truly remade as a traditional tool from Edo era and commercialized. They are our original products.
Original skin name - 「HON ZAME」

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Q & A for a shark skin grater
How to grate a fresh wasabi root with a shark skin grater?
If you bite into a frash piece of wasabi root, it doesn't taste strongly.
To bring taste and flavor out from a wasabi root, the cells have to be destroyed by grating.
Sticky and Creamy paste wasabi has the best taste and flavor.
Gently grating in a circular motion without any power is the best way to do it.

[Key to caring for the grater and making the tool last long]
If used often, its best to have two on hand and use them interchangeably.
What kind of shark do we use for our graters?
There are hundreds kinds of sharks all over the world. Angel sharks have the best skin bumps and they are generally used for graters. Bullhead sharks, fan ray, guitarfish are used too. Their habitat is the south of Kanto, Japan to the equator. They are classified into Elasmobranchii. Also skin original name Honzame.
Why is a shark skin good for grating fresh wasabi roots?
A shark skin grater helps to break fresh wasabi's cells and brings the best flavor and spicy taste out. Of course metallic graters can be used to grate fresh wasabi roots but the metal taste destroys the wasabi's flavour. Also it can't grate to the preferred paste like consistency which helps to bring the best flavor and spicy taste out.
What is a shrk skin made of ?
It's made of enamel like our teeth. Unlike metallic graters, they are natural materials so they are gentle to your body and environment. For your information, shark skins are hard enough to scrape a 100 yen coin. For our products we remove the slimy and brownish-red thin skin on the surface of the skins before the drying process is completed. These steps make sanitary flesh-colored skins for our products.
Materials for shark skins as a traditional craft's material
For our shark skin graters we use the same materials reserved for the decoration of noblemen's armour and swords. Also in the Nara era shark skins were used for the swords of the collection of Shosoin.
Shark skin is the generic name for back leathers of certain kinds of sharks and rays which are covered with hard bumps.
The material can be from a shark or a ray. The shark skins we carefully select have the best quality for grating a fresh wasabi root with neat bumps and that won't leave crumbs between them.
You may imagine the movie "JAWS" when you hear of sharks but we can't get suitable shark skin for a grater from the great white. We use shark skins from angel sharks, fan ray, bowmouth and guitarfish for our products. They are all called sharks but their bodies are flat. According to taxonomy angel sharks belong to Squatiniformes but fan rays belong to Botoidea. They are both classified as Elasmobranchii. Shark skins have been highly appreciated to be used on sword handles and armour in Japan but sharks with bumpy skins which are good for graters do not inhabit the sea around Japan. They are caught in the sea south of Kyushu, Okinawa and Southeast Asia and only their skins are imported from there. In other word, Japanese have believed the sharks or a rays used for a grater are all sharks without seeing them swimming in the sea. However according to taxonomy it has become clear that most are in fact classified as rays.
In pursuing the best materials for our graters we don't concern ourselves with being taxonomically correct in referring to the skins as "shark skin".

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