‘Diaper sushi’ a baby shower hit in Japan

Kyodo

An offbeat baby shower gift evoking one of Japan’s most famous culinary exports is a sales hit.

Orders for “diaper sushi,” which combine white nappies as “rice” and pink bibs as “shrimp” topping, are nonstop for seller Wire Mama, publisher of a child-care information magazine in the city of Tokushima.

Noriyuki Monda, the Wire Mama employee who developed the product, said he first had the idea for diaper sushi 10 years ago after hearing about “diaper cakes” being given as gifts for new mothers overseas. “Naturally, Japanese should make sushi” with diapers, he thought.

The quirky gifts went on sale in 2012, and the company has hired around 10 women, who are raising young children, to make diaper sushi at their homes. Wearing gloves and facial masks, the women make each product by hand. In addition to folding diapers into the shape of sushi rice, the “sushi chef” uses items related to child care and housework as toppings, such as white baby soap in place of squid and orange mini mops for sea urchins.

“We looked for people who cannot work outside of their house because of child-rearing,” said 36-year-old Monda, who is also raising a young child. “Thanks to their ideas, the toppings have been improved.”

Wire Mama, which receives around 200 orders every month, launched a high-end version using a sushi tub made of local cedar trees, in July, called “Takumi.”

Orders for this latest addition to the lineup, with an assortment of 15 sushi and priced at ¥7,777 ($71), can be made at the dedicated website (omutsuzushi.wire.co.jp/index.htm)