Nyotaimori (女体盛り, "serve (foods) on the female body"), often referred to as "body sushi", is the Japanese practice of serving sashimi or sushi from the naked body of a woman. Nantaimori (男体盛り) is the male equivalent.
The origin of nyotaimori can be traced back to the food play of wakamezake (わかめ酒) performed in Yūkaku during the Edo period, where sake would be poured into a Japanese sex worker's pubic region for drinking purposes. Fuelled by Japan's economic growth in the 1960s, this practice was further evolved by the hot spring bathing (onsen) industry in the Ishikawa Prefecture where the erotic nature of nyotaimori was used as an advertising tactic by the hot spring resorts to attract male customers who were on company trips to the region. The nyotaimori practice dwindled as family and private trips to the onsen destinations became increasingly popular in the 1980s and it was subsequently adopted by catering and sex establishments as an exotic attraction.
Due to the lack of primary sources, the misconceptions of nyotaimori's origin persisted when the practice became internationally known through popular culture.
In traditional nyotaimori, the model is generally expected to lie still at all times and usually not talk with guests until the event is concluded even after all food is removed. The sushi is placed on sanitized leaves on the model's body to prevent skin-to-fish contact and on sufficiently flat areas of the body which the sushi will not roll off. In the Japanese style the geisha's body is fully naked except for traditional footwear and head dress. The Western style sometimes adds a genital covering such as a G-string. Nyotaimori is considered an art form.[failed verification]
Usually, champagne and sake are served in naked sushi restaurants. Guests must be respectful and observe the strictest decorum. Talking with the models is highly discouraged. Inappropriate gestures or comments are not tolerated and diners can only pick up sushi with chopsticks, although rules in some restaurants are less strict. For example, in some restaurants, guests can nibble nori rolls off nipples if they choose.[better source needed]
The practice has been criticized as being decadent, humiliating, degrading, cruel, antiquated, objectifying, and sexist.
Several countries have banned the practice. In 2005, China outlawed nyotaimori on naked bodies, condemning it due to public health concerns and moral issues.