A tweet from Katy Perry to her 54.4 million followers about her dinner at Montreal's Park with Neil Patrick Harris on Monday has triggered a rush of ephemeral, sensationalist interest in kaimin katsugyo.
"Katy Perry confirms she eats acupuncture-treated fish in strangest fad since JLo sniffed grapefruit oil", wrote The Independent today.
And from E!: "Katy Perry Feasts on Acupuncture-Treated Sushi With Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka."
A 2010 article in The Globe and Mail reported on the practice of fish acupuncture in detail.
[Chef Antonio] Park and a few chefs in British Columbia import fish from a Japanese company that, in the style of traditional Eastern medicine, places needles into certain species of their catch (the exact points are a closely guarded secret). The technique is called kaimin katsugyo, which translates as "live fish sleeping soundly."
An acupunctured fish first falls into a sort of coma: It is brain-dead but can breathe weakly, and its central nervous functions continue during most of the overnight flight to Canada.
The fish dies in transit after about 12 hours, as oxygen reserves supplied by a saltwater-soaked padded envelope are depleted. But for several hours more, its flesh behaves as if it were still alive, the company says. In essence, the fish has become a zombie, existing in a twilight state between life and death, its normal processes of cellular decomposition arrested by those strategic pinpricks.
Park also spoke on camera recently about kaimin katsugyo for a Vice Munchies clip.