The Japanese Yellowtail Amberjack is a species of jack fish native to the northwest Pacific Ocean, from Japan to Hawaii.
It is greatly appreciated in Japan, where it is called hamachi or buri. These fish are eaten either cooked or raw, and are a seasonal favourite in the colder months when the meat has a higher fat content.
Yellowtail amberjack tastes the best between late summer and autumn. It is almost identical in appearance as the yellowtail and takes a professional to distinguish the two.
The best way to distinguish it is to look at the lower jaw from the side. The yellowtail amberjack has more curvature, where the yellowtail has one close to a right angle.
The yellowtail amberjack has the slimmest figure out of these yellowtails, and is nicknamed the “torpedo” among Japanese fishermen. It is famous for being able swim close to 50 feet in an instant when it tries to run away after being caught on a fish hook.
Hiramasa is written as “flat yellowtail” (masa is a different way of reading buri, or yellowtail), and most likely got the name for its slimmer body and high resemblance to the yellow tail.