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In the first "tataki" method, the meat or fish is seared very briefly over a hot flame or in a pan, and can be briefly marinated in vinegar, sliced thinly and seasoned with ginger (which is ground or pounded into a paste, hence the name). Food so prepared can also be served with soy sauce and garnishes like a sashimi.
The method originated in Tosa Province, now part of Kōchi Prefecture. Lore has it that it was developed by Sakamoto Ryōma, a 19th-century rebel samurai, who picked up the European technique of grilling meat from the foreigners resident in Nagasaki.
In the second method, it is the food that is "hit into pieces". Fish such as tuna or horse mackerel are chopped and mixed with garnishes such as garlic, ginger, green onions or shiso leaves. Soy sauce may be poured over the chopped mixture before consumption.