Manpower crunch in the sushi industry

Why did Tokyo Sushi Academy decide to set up a branch school in Singapore?

There has been a growing demand and interest for Japanese sushi and cuisine in the world recently.

However, many sushi restaurants and owners are facing manpower issues because it is hard to find professionally trained sushi chefs.


Traditionally, in Japan, one has to spend at least 10 years as an apprentice in a sushi restaurant before they can be considered as a sushi chef.

The learning process is also tiring and long.

Hence, being a sushi chef is a career option that is losing its popularity among young Japanese who are not willing to spend so much time to learn.

Before Tokyo Sushi Academy was set up, there was no culinary course in Japan that specialised in the teaching of sushi.

Our CEO, Mr. Makoto Fukue identified the problem and decided to set up the academy with the purpose of training people to be sushi chefs, no matter what age they are.

Some of our graduates are also mid-career leavers or retirees who have plans to set up their own restaurants in the future.

Some Japanese graduates used it as a chance to find employment in Japanese restaurants overseas.


At the beginning, we only had private lessons.

However, the response was so much better than we expected.

Hence, in 2010, we started the sushi diploma course in 2010 and our students included foreigners outside Japan.

However, one problem still remains and that is many Japanese chefs could not speak English fluently and hence they are reluctant to go abroad to work. However, in recent years, there is an overwhelming demand for Japanese restaurants in Asia.

Many owners face the problem of looking for good sushi chefs, especially among the younger generation.


We talked to some restaurant owners in Asia and they gave us feedback that it would be the best if there could be a program to train locals to be sushi chefs.

Therefore, we decided to open an overseas branch and Singapore was our top choice.