March 17th and 18th were some crazy days for Taiwan. Those were the days that the incident now called “salmon chaos” took place, because of a sushi chain called Sushiro. The insane two-day event got out of control since a big amount of the population got involved. Sushiro came up with a fun marketing idea to get more clients and promote their salmon sushi. They posted on their Facebook page that every person who had the homophones for salmon in their name could have discounts, while the ones who had the exact name salmon, gui yu, could have a totally free five-person meal.
According to Taiwanese laws, each person can have three legal name changes as long as they satisfy some specific criteria. The mayor of Chiayi City had the record of the longest name after he changed it before running for mayor, but his record was snatched after thousands of people started to change their name to include the characters for salmon.
A lot of groups of people were having fun changing their names to salmon for only $3, and enjoying their free delicious sushi, but once they went to change it back, they found out they couldn’t change more than three times, and they had to be named salmon for the rest of their lives. Dream Salmon, Crab Salmon, and more were some of the names people chose.
It was reported that at least 332 people on the first day of the promotion changed their name only for the event, but many of those had previously changed it. Many public officers stated that they tried to convince people not to change their names, but no one listened.
The Taiwanese government had to take action and ask people to stop changing their names, but it was out of control. Neither the sushi chain nor the authorities thought this promotion could have such hype.
While some people on the internet thought the viral situation was extremely hilarious, others believed it was a very disrespectful action that talked a lot about the ethical values of the younger generations and that it was a waste of time and paperwork, as Chen Tsung-yen, the Ministry of the Interior stated.
A lot of people got to change their name back and have one less change in their future, while others had to take legal actions to try to find loopholes that helped them not to be a salmon forever. Maybe Taiwan changes its Name Act law to avoid having a similar crisis in the future.