In the episode Outpost of the "Private Snafu" WWII propaganda series, Snafu encounters a can of pickled fish eyes with rice from the Imperial Japanese Navy. (Transcript, video link (Warning: content is sexist and anti-Japanese))

Did Japanese people eat pickled fish eyes?

http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Japan/Aichi/Nagoya/Midori-ku/blog-534400.html mentions eating fish eye (not necessarily pickled) in Nagoya, and a comment on a blog post has someone mentioning they ate pickled fish eyes in Tokyo. But the small number of google hits for "pickled fish eyes" I'm getting makes me somewhat doubtful.

  • 3
    Fish eyes are commonly eaten, at least in Asia. I haven't had pickled fish eyes, but I'd be very surprised if you can't find it in Japan today.
    – user17967
    Commented Aug 3, 2014 at 6:29
  • 1
    Searching for an answer to this taught me, if nothing else, that "fish eye" (魚の目) means "corn" (on one's foot) in Japanese
    – waldrumpus
    Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 6:57

2 Answers 2


The 1939 article The Caloric Measure of Man in The Cavalry Journal July/August 1939 says:

The Japanese soldier lives on a ration of fish eyes and rice.

A National Geographic article says:

The ship served only Japanese food. You might weary of raw fish, pickled fish eyes, octopus tentacles, seaweed, and bean curd.


This Japanese site (selling energy drinks) (English auto-translate) mentions that during World War 2 eyeballs were plucked from fish, dried, and sent to the Japanese troops as a source of vitamin B1, and they also mention that there is a lot of DHA and EPA in them.

For your more simple question, here is a recipe for boiled in vinegar tuna eyeballs.

  • Searching for "Eye" in the auto-translation of the first link mentions cases where it's good for human eyesight, and I can see "However, not only these components actually vitamin B 1 is I contains many highlight of the fish. The centerpiece of the Pacific War in this fish, production of vitamin B 1 is was still not enough, because of the nutritional fortification of soldiers, it seems were sent to the battle front dried hollowed out from the fish.", but I can't see mention of fish eye being used. Can you quote the relevant part?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented May 4, 2014 at 23:22
  • 1
    "目玉" from the first link was automatically translated by Google as "centerpiece", but it can also mean "eyeball", so yes, it talks about eyeballs. This answer is useful, but the first link being to a site which, as you noted, sells energy drinks makes me a little doubtful.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 11:35

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