Jiro Dreams of Sushi: The Shokunin

Jiro Dreams of Sushi documents the life of world-renowned sushi chef Jiro Ono and his rise to the top of the sushi world. At 86 years old, Jiro has been a sushi chef for over 65 years and he is still striving for perfection. His small sushi restaurant nestled in a Tokyo subway station has managed to gain the coveted 3 stars Michelin review.

When guests enter the tiny ten-person restaurant (after making a reservation a month in advance) they expect to experience an eating experience like no other. Jiro has devoted his life to sushi and one of his innovations is a three-course meal that is structured like a symphony. With the more popular fish served in the first “movement”, Jiro then serves the more rare and seasonal fish, finishing with the heavier sushi including egg and salmon roe. This attention to detail and the eating experience is one of the reasons why Jiro is so highly praised.

We are given five key characteristics that are necessary for someone to be a good chef: they must take their work seriously, they must constantly aspire to improve their work, they must maintain a sense of cleanliness, they must be slightly stubborn and be a good leader, and finally, they must be passionate about their work. Jiro encompasses all five of these attributes. These characteristics can be described by the word shokunin.

The term shokunin is used to describe a person who is a master at his or her own craft. Not only does this term imply they are highly skilled, it also alludes to the idea that the artisan is never completely satisfied with his or her own work; they are always trying to perfect their skill. They work tirelessly every day without complaining not seeking praise or to earn a lot of money, but because they are passionate about their work. Jiro is the perfect example of a shokunin.

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