Manga can really inspire you to pursue your dreams!

Shota no Sushi is a cooking manga that ran in Weekly Shonen Magazine between 1992 and 1997. Though it’s not really thought of as one of the biggest manga of the decade–like popular Shonen Jump manga like Yu-Gi-Oh, Slam Dunk, and, of course, Dragonball–its wholesome story about a young sushi apprentice working hard to become the best of the best has earned itself a legion of dedicated followers, like our very own P.K. Sanjun.

In fact, Shota no Sushi was so influential to its fans that one decided to become a sushi chef because of it–even though he was raised in another country. Gyonhan Moon, born and raised in Korea, moved to Japan to learn to make sushi, and after opening his own sushi restaurant has just earned a Michelin star, all thanks to Shota’s sushi journey!

Moon read Shota no Sushi when in his third year in junior high school, and though he had never eaten sushi before, he was so inspired by Shota’s story that he decided to become a sushi chef. “The story was so interesting it gave me goosebumps!” he said.

He went to cooking school, and, after graduating, began working at a high-end sushi restaurant in Seoul. Then, at the age of 24, he moved to Japan, not knowing any Japanese, to further improve his craft. He got a job at a sushi restaurant in the Ginza neighborhood of Tokyo, where he trained for eight years to become an excellent sushi chef.

Last November, he was finally able to open his own sushi restaurant in the ritzy neighborhood of Azabu Juban in Tokyo, at the age of 33. He named it “Sushiya Shota”, after the character that so inspired him, though he chose to use the character for “good fortune” (祥) rather than the character for “leader” (将) in the name “Shota”.

Unfortunately, his difficulties weren’t over yet. Sushiya Shota’s grand opening was just in time for the coronavirus pandemic. Choosing the fish to serve in their restaurant every morning is an important part of a sushi chef’s job, but with the pandemic, Moon has not been allowed into the warehouses, so he must place his trust in a friend who works as a third-party trader to choose his fish for him. That, coupled with low customer numbers amid the pandemic, has made operating his new restaurant a challenge.

But with a Michelin star under his belt now, hopefully Moon will have enough fame and praise to bring customers back to his shop in full force. Luckily, he isn’t without his original supporters. The first customer to eat at his restaurant when it opened was none other than Shota no Sushi author Daisuke Terasawa himself, who now appears to be a good friend of Moon’s, if not a regular customer. After the Tokyo Michelin Guide was announced for 2020, Moon spoke with Terasawa on the phone, and said, “It’s all thanks you, sensei.”

Hopefully with his fans’ support and his new potential customer base, Sushiya Shota will be around for a long time, so everyone to enjoy his traditional, Edo-style omakase sush for years to come!

Source: TV Asahi News via Yahoo! News via Otacom
Top image: Pakutaso
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