Shusseuo (fish called by different names at different stages of its growth) (出世魚)

"Shusseuo" is a term used in Japan to refer to fishes that are called by different names depending on their growth stage, from an alevin to an adult fish. Until the Edo period, samurai and scholars would customarily change their names upon their coming-of-age ceremonies and promotions.
The term "Shusseuo," which originated from this custom, represents 'fishes whose names change as they grow, as if they're being promoted.'
These fishes are considered to bear good luck and are used as ingredients in foods for happy events and celebrations. Buri (adult yellowtail), Suzuki (sea perch), Bora (striped mullet), etc., are famous as Shusseuo.


Fishes of the same kind may be called by different names depending on their size, appearance, area of habitation, change of behavioral mode, etc. Rapidly growing fishes of the same kind that differ in age can be easily distinguished from one another by size when they're caught, because the size may more than double within a year. Here, if their commercial value, in terms of application or taste, is different depending on the age, it isn't necessarily convenient to call them by the same name. Moreover, it's sometimes difficult to determine whether the difference in commercial value is because of the difference in age or the difference in species. In any case, because it isn't necessarily important to distinguish whether they belong to the same species or not when they're caught and distributed to retail stores, they may be called by different names for the sake of convenience.

In the case of Shusseuo, the Japanese name that is used for academic purposes is merely one of their names and frequently is the name used once they've matured. Because the 'standardization of names' according to growth stages other than the mature stage, such as the designation of the Japanese name, aren't made, they're frequently called by different names in different regions.


"Buri" refers to fishes that belong to the class Osteichthyes, order Perciformes, family Carangidae.
There is an old Senryu (Japanese verse) that says: 'Buri and Hamachi (young yellowtail) are Shusseuo because they were originally called Inada (young yellowtail).'


"Suzuki" refers to fishes that belong to the class Osteichthyes, order Perciformes, family Moronidae.

Their name changes as follows: Seigo (alevin of sea perch) to Fukko (alevin of sea perch larger than Seigo) to Suzuki and then to Otaro.

In the Kansai area, the name changes from Seigo to Hane (alevin of sea perch larger than Seigo) to Suzuki.

Furthermore, alevins of Hirasuzuki (a kind of sea perch) are also called Hiraseigo (alevin of sea perch).
(The name Hirahane isn't commonly used.)


"Bora" refers to fishes that belong to the class Osteichthyes, order Mugiliformes, family Mugilidae.


Konoshiro (dotted gizzard shad): Sometimes excluded from the Shusseuo category

Maguro (tuna): Despite being called by different names, they are not called Shusseuo)
Sawara (Spanish mackerel), Unagi (eel), Kanpachi (great amberjack), Sake (Chum salmon), etc., are also called by different names, but they are not called Shusseuo either.

Koi (carp): Despite being sometimes called Shusseuo because of the Toryumon legend, their name doesn't change.

Examples in foreign countries

Aristotle: sardine

Salmon in England

[Original Japanese]