Artist’s Palate: Takashi Murakami’s tuna nigiri

Takashi Murakami's tuna nigiri
‘Service’ plates with single band, £195 each, by Thomas Goode. ‘Lay’ plates with blue and yellow bands, £52 each, by Paul Smith for Thomas Goode. ‘Tourron’ plates in Cherry, £25 each, by Jars, from Amara.
(Image credit: John Short)

Like the man himself, Takashi Murakami’s favourite food is a national treasure. ‘Sushi is a symbol of Japanese culture, and can now be enjoyed anywhere in the world,’ he says.

Contrary to his outré aesthetic, his favourite variety, tuna nigiri, is as orthodox as it comes. The artist’s opinion on flowers, a recurring motif in his artwork, is more ambivalent. ‘Their smell, their shape – it makes me feel almost physically sick, and at the same time I find them very “cute”,’ he says.

Sushi rice
Rice vinegar
Fresh sushi-grate tuna, thinly sliced

Rinse the rice until the water runs clear, then place in a pan with almost double the amount of water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes until tender and the water absorbed. Leave until cool enough to handle.

Combine the rice vinegar with some sugar and salt in a pan and cook over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool, then stir into the cooled rice, stirring until it dries and becomes sticky.

With a wet hand, grab a handful of rice and shape it into an oval form. Lay a slice of tuna on top and press down gently. §

A version of this article originally featured in the March 2019 issue of Wallpaper* (W*240)

TF Chan is a former editor of Wallpaper* (2020-23), where he was responsible for the monthly print magazine, planning, commissioning, editing and writing long-lead content across all pillars. He also played a leading role in multi-channel editorial franchises, such as Wallpaper’s annual Design Awards, Guest Editor takeovers and Next Generation series. He aims to create world-class, visually-driven content while championing diversity, international representation and social impact. TF joined Wallpaper* as an intern in January 2013, and served as its commissioning editor from 2017-20, winning a 30 under 30 New Talent Award from the Professional Publishers’ Association. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he holds an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton University.