I love sushi. I don't love crazy cults. Now what?
February 12, 2011 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Do the Moonies actually supply that much of the sushi market, and if so, do my favorite sushi restaurants in Madison,WI (Takara) get their sushi from them?

This article seems to state that Rev. Moon supplies a lot of America's sushi. Is this true? And if so...

There are a few sushi restaurants I already love to go to in Madison, WI, and a few I want to try. How can I find out about whether they're giving money to the Moonies?

I am not interested in hearing any defenses of Rev. Moon's organizations. Please consider them outside of the scope of the question.
posted by Jpfed to Food & Drink (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
As a Southern Californian, I don't eat sushi if I'm not in a coastal state, but True World Foods is pretty ubiquitous.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:43 PM on February 12, 2011

Short answer: Yes. They own True World, which supplies the vast majority sushi quality fish, and are the predominant supplier to sushi restaurants in the US.
posted by newpotato at 3:45 PM on February 12, 2011

Sorry, I was answering your first question of supporting the moonies. How can you find out if your fave sushi joint uses them? The easiest way would be to call the restaurants and ask them if they use True World. Most sushi restaurants won't reveal their prime distributors, but since EVERYONE uses True World, it's not like they are some kind of trade secret.
posted by newpotato at 3:48 PM on February 12, 2011

It's hard to knowingly avoid the Moonies if you like sushi. This would especially be true in Madison, which is conveniently located near their relevant business headquarters. I wouldn't want to defend the Moonies, but this is also a pretty selective thing to want to boycott. Companies like Sysco or agro-businesses such as Monsanto are responsible for a much greater percentage of the food you likely eat, and probably do much more damage to human beings than the Moonies could ever manage.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 3:51 PM on February 12, 2011 [11 favorites]

There was a thread in the madisonwi subreddit looking for restaurant recommendations; someone linked to this which only lists Ginza as owned by a Moonie company. I really like Wasabi and Edo, but since I eat vegetarian at sushi restaurants (allergies) I probably have a biased perspective. While I like the tea rooms at Ginza, I haven't been too impressed with their rolls - too much rice, imo.
posted by queseyo at 3:52 PM on February 12, 2011

I'm pretty sure this is all going to keep going whether you eat sushi in Madison, WI, or not.

True World Group is definitely a real company, and a little casual googling implies that the basic facts of the story are verifiable (the company exists, Takeshi Yashiro really is the CEO, they really are huge suppliers of fish to sushi restaurants). As far as I can tell, the Tribune would have no reason to make this up out of whole cloth. All in all, the tone of the article is hyperbolic, and there are some leaps in logic throughout the piece. But yeah, the basic facts are there.

According to Wikipedia, the company is not officially connected to the Unification Church, though. The reality seems to be that some prominent Church members founded and continue to run the company, based on the preaching of Rev. Sun Myung Moon. This is the main area where I question the Tribune article, since it implies without any real support that this is untrue and True World Group is directly controlled by the Unification Church itself.

If that bothers you enough to want to avoid supporting True World Group in any way, well, from what I understand you probably can't eat sushi in most of the US.

If there's a restaurant you particularly love, I suppose it's worth asking the management where the fish comes from.
posted by Sara C. at 3:56 PM on February 12, 2011

Based on my personal experience of dealing with True World over the last two years while I owned a sushi restaurant and had regular conversations with their delivery guys, I can confirm that most of not all of the employees of True World here in the US are members of the Unification Church (this is according to one of the drivers).
Friendliest drivers ever, and very accommodating, as far as suppliers go. One of the drivers recounted the details of his marriage to his wife, which was during one of those mass ceremonies that the church occasionally has.
You are most definitely directly supporting the Unification church if you support True World. They have a monopoly. The article is probably not being hyperbolic (though I admit to not reading it).
posted by newpotato at 4:08 PM on February 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

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