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The Chefs

Nakashima is proud to have a great cast of chefs.  Master of their craft, our sushi chefs, combined, have over 100 years of experience behind the cutting board!


  • Hiroyuki Nakashima

Hiroyuki Nakashima

Fukuoka, Japan - 35 years experience

Mr. Nakashima started learning the art of sushi in the mid 1970’s in his hometown of Fukuoka, Japan at his older brother’s restaurant. Although he got his bachelors degree in Accounting at the University of Fukuoka and had a career in Japan within the field, he always wanted to experience America. He traveled to America in 1979 to help out his best friend Seigo at Seigo’s Japanese Steakhouse in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Mr. Nakashima quickly became a hibachi chef and fell in love with America and has been here ever since.

For over 20 years, Mr. Nakashima has been serving the Fox Valley Japanese cuisine. He introduced Nakashima of Japan to Appleton in 1988, offering the first Sushi Bar north of Milwaukee. Although there were very few sushi followers at the beginning, Nakashima Sushi has grown into a culinary adventure that is experienced by hundreds a day here in the Fox Valley. Mr. Nakashima has a great passion for his country’s beloved and traditional cuisine and loves to share his culture with the people around him. Hiroyuki consistently experiments with new ingredients, techniques, and cultural styles to infuse into his dishes. Nakashima of Japan has grown into a family owned business with all four of his children helping out.


  • Shigeharu “Dai” Yoshida

Shigeharu “Dai” Yoshida

Kita Kyushu, Japan - 25 years experience

Shigeharu, or more commonly known by his peers as ‘Dai’, has been living in the Fox Valley since 1983. Born in Kita Kyushu Japan, he moved to Fukuoka to attend the Nakamura Culinary School. Dai is trained in French, Italian, and Chinese cooking, as well as Japanese. Having over 20 years of experience as a hibachi and sushi chef, and knowing Hiroyuki Nakashima since the early 80s, Dai joined our staff in 2004. He traveled between all three locations, but finally made the Green Bay restaurant his home. Dai loves the creativity involved behind the sushi bar. His favorite part of his job is putting a modern twist on traditional rolls and sashimi dishes. Dai has also been a feature chef in many of our Wine Tasting events at all 3 locations.


  • Norio Sakamaki

Norio Sakamaki

Okayama, Japan - 30 years experience

Born in Kobe, Japan, Norio grew up in the prefecture of Okayama. He went to sushi school in Osaka, and moved to America in 1982. Norio owned and operated a sushi bar in San Francisco, California for over 20 years. Needing a change of pace, Norio decided to move to Wisconsin and joined our staff in 2003. He started out as head sushi chef at our downtown location and moved to the Green Bay location when their doors opened in 2007. Norio’s calm and peaceful spirit reflects on his work and creates a smooth flow behind the sushi bar. He loves creating every dish and, just like Shimanaka, he is very skilled at filleting many types of fish.


  • Junichi Hoashi

Junichi Hoashi

Fukuoka, Japan - 30 years experience

Jun started learning sushi alongside Hiroyuki at Hiromi’s sushi bar in Daizafu, Fukuoka during the early 70s. Like Hiroyuki, Jun came to visit America and ended up falling in love with it. He moved to Appleton to become a Hibachi Chef in 1980. He spent many years behind the hibachi tables but fate brought him back to sushi. He became head chef of a Milwaukee sushi bar in the early 80s, and soon after became Manager. He ran the Milwaukee restaurant for many years until he joined our staff in 2009.

Jun and Hiroyuki were childhood friends and stayed in touch all these years while in America. At times you can find Hiroyuki, Jun, and Hiromi behind the sushi bar together just like they were over 30 years ago back in Japan.