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Heart-shaped creations fishing for affection on Valentine's Day

Heart-shaped "kamaboko" steamed fish paste are seen at a factory in the city of Kashiwara, Osaka Prefecture, in western Japan, on Jan. 19, 2019, ahead of Valentine's Day on Feb. 14. (Mainichi/Kenji Ikai)

KASHIWARA, Osaka -- The production of heart-shaped "kamaboko" steamed fish cakes has reached a peak at a factory here in western Japan ahead of Valentine's Day on Feb. 14.

The kamaboko, created by the Daitora Kamaboko processed fish shop based in Osaka's Chuo Ward, are made by grinding daggertooth pike conger and other fish, steaming the meat, and shaping the items into a heart shape, with most of the work done by hand. The phrase "Sukiyanen," which means "I love you" in the Kansai dialect in Japanese, is stamped on the goods. About 5,500 kamaboko are scheduled to be manufactured at the factory and sold at department stores mainly in the Kansai region.

The shop's production of heart-shaped kamaboko for Valentine's Day started more than 35 years ago.

Noriko Kotani, 47, who is in charge of public relations for the shop, said, "I hope people who dislike sweets will enjoy Valentine's Day and renew their appreciation of kamaboko's great taste."

(Japanese original by Kenji Ikai, Osaka Photo Department)

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