Memories of Japan in the Dar es Salaam Fish Market: A Photo Essay by Yoko Inoue

27 September 2018

On the last day of her visit to Dar es Salaam for the Asia in Africa conference, HaB principal investigator Yoko Inoue explored the fish market complex in Dar es Salaam, where she encountered several fascinating sights.

For Yoko, the scenes at Dar es Salaam today hark back to the Tokyo fish markets of yore. In this photo essay, she captures both the lively atmosphere of the Tanzanian market and her food memories of Japan. 

yoko 9 I watched the fish auction with all these hundreds of women surrounding the platform with a tiny mound of fish—yelling and negotiating!


yoko 10 They bring fish in boats all day and then clean, cut up, cook, sell! Very lively place. I wish the HaB food group had come with me.


yoko 6 I went by myself, found someone to show me around who knew names of some fish in Japanese because it appears that the Japanese government helped to build the fish market.


yoko 2 Lobsters in color!


yoko 4 Octopus.


yoko 3 So they boil the octopus first in a huge pot and save the juice,  then deep fry them in a huge iron pan. I ate calamari with hot sauce — fantastic! The food prep section is across the street from the market.


yoko1 The pink and orange color comes out when you boil octopus. Always pink, red, purplish magenta—that range of colors. I've never seen that bright orange color before.
I used to get live octopus and watch my mom dump them in the boiling hot water when I was growing up in Awaji island in Osaka bay.


yoko 5 Women cut up fish.


yoko 8 I really wanted to go there because the Tokyo Tsukiji market is relocating next month after hundreds of years — and 20 years of controversy. This is due to the so-called “modernization” and “sanitisation” of the open-air fish market into a closed climate-controlled building, but it’s all about corporate interests of distribution and schemes of neoliberal thinking.


yoko 7 I have documented a bit of this market and think about the scene of Dar es Salaam. It feels like the Tokyo fish-market prototype of 150 years ago.


  Images and text by Yoko Inoue