I confess! This is a photographic blog about the world’s biggest fish market without any photos of fish. However, who needs fish? This market, like famous markets everywhere, is about its people. Those who work here, shop here and pass through on the way to or from somewhere else. Among other things, Tsukiji is another piece of the Japanese food experience and is a popular breakfast venue, as shown by several photos of people hunting for breakfast and their providers.
The basic tool of trade is, of course, the knife – another area where Japanese craftsmanship is revered. A good blade is essential and the knife sharpener (pic 6) and the knife merchant (pic 7) are integral to the market’s operations. I was also fascinated by the clerks (pics 9 & 10) who were totally absorbed in their work. They rarely look up and would seem to rely on old skills and technologies to keep business running smoothly.
Tsukiji is an old market and as shown by pics 1 & 12 and is very much a working place that wears its scars, through which its story can be imagined. Trolleys like the one in pic 11 symbolise this and although well worn from years of daily hard work, it retains an honest beauty.
All things come to an end and like other great markets in London and elsewhere, Tsukiji Fish Market will soon relocate to enable its prime location to be redeveloped. Perhaps in time the new market will also capture our imagination, but for now I’m pleased to have my memories and photos of how people working from a collection of big, untidy sheds have created a much-loved institution.
(Please click on any of the following images for an enlarged view.)