Updated: May 15, 2020
The word "Sashimi" written in Japanese as ”刺身” literary means "Sliced Meat."
Fish Sashimi is the most popular type of Sashimi, however, there are some vegetables and meat (beef, poultry) Sashimi in Japan.
Many people around the world consume "raw meat" including Eskimos (Whale) and Native Americans (Buffalo). The question is "When and where did humans start eating raw meat?"
Some Japanese archaeologists believe they were eating raw fish during Jomon Period (14,000 BC–300 BC).
The first historical sighting of Sashimi, or consumption of sliced raw fish was in China around 823B.C. There is no record of Sashimi afterward. It is believed that the custom was stopped due to food poisoning or infection from parasites in raw fish.
The first historical sighting of sashimi in Japan goes back to 8th century. Instead of soy sauce, ginger vinegar and mustard vinegar was used since soy sauce was very expensive item and was only produced in small quantity.
Types of fish used for Sashimi were Tai/Red Snapper, Carp, Suzuki, Buri (Japanese Amberjack) and Katsuo (Bonito).
Sashimi became popular during Edo period 1603-1868) and started to recognized as a proper "meal." This was due to the abundant supply of fresh fish(suitable for raw consumption) in Edo(Tokyo) area and mass production of soy sauce. Soy sauce helped to reduce fishy smell and enhanced flavor of fish.
Besides Japan, Sashimi like dishes can be seen in many countries as:
Russia (Nanai People, freshwater fish from Amur River or Heilong Jiang)
China (Fujian province, Grass Carp or 鯇鱼)
Singapore and Malaysia(魚生)
Chili and Peru (Cebiche/Ceviche)
Netherlands (raw herring)