In the Japanese fishing terminology, the gizzard shad is a shusse uo, or “promoting fish”, and has four classifications according to their age, and size.
The gizzard shad were used as good luck charms for child birth, and they were buried in the ground to protect the mother from labor.
During the Edo period, the gizzard shad were very abundant and not very expensive. There were times when the gizzard shad were cheaper than rice, and considered the fish for the poor.
As for now, the seasonal shinko can run as much as $300.00 per pound during the spring season.
The name kohada , which is the most widely known stage of the fish gets its name from the many dark blue spots on its skin. (Ko meaning powder (or fine),and hada meaning skin).
All stages except the eldest konoshiro are cured and used as sushi. The konoshiro is usually grilled with salt. The fish is particularly popular pickled in salt and vinegar before being served either as sashimi or sushi, as the smell emanating form the grilled fish is too strong for many.