Kanto (Tokyo) and Kansai (Osaka) use Different SeaweedsThere are several differences between Kanto and Kansai's seaweed. Rolls made with Kanto's seaweed are called "norimaki"(seaweed roll). This seaweed is lightly burned in order to bring out its unique coloring and crispy texture. These features are said to be what makes Kanto seaweed unique from the Kansai variety. In Kansai, the seaweed is not burned, but kept raw, so it does not rip as easily, and the coloring and texture are quite different. This Kansai rolled sushi is simply called "maki sushi",quite different from the "norimaki" made in Kanto.
Maki Sushi(Kansai)The name "maki sushi" was first used in 1802 by a resident of Sugino, Kyoto. This name was written in a famous cooking book of the time called Meihan Burui. It states that maki sushi is made by placing the seaweed on the cutting board, spreading the rice on top, rolling red snapper, abalone, and matsutake mushrooms inside, and tightening it with a damp cloth. After this was written, the first maki sushi appeared in the Kansai region.
Norimaki(Kanto)The word "norimaki" is far older than the name "maki sushi". In 1787, "Edo's Restaurant Guide" (similar to today's yellow pages) showed 25 to 26 "Sushi Restaurants." On their menus, the word "norimaki" appeared fairly frequently.
The Origin of the Word"Tekka Maki"Tekkamaki is a norimaki roll with tuna in the center. It is said to have made its first appearance in Tokyo's sushi restaurants at sometime from the late Edo era to the beginning of the Meiji era. Groups of gamblers often went to open casinos (Tekka ba, or Bakuchi ba) and enjoyed sushi there. Eventually they decided they wanted a new kind of sushi, and instead of the usual kanpyo (stewed gourd), they used tuna that was cut into small pieces. Due to the location where they were created and served (in casinos), "Tekkamaki" became the name of this new sushi.