Dried topping for rice. ふりかけ、振り掛け
Condiment sprinkled on hot rice. Usually contains toasted and shredded seaweed, ground dry fish, sesame seed and salt. Other flavorful ingredients which can be added to the mix are: shiso, egg, freeze-dried salmon particles, powdered miso, katsuobushi. The particular furikake usualy is named after the main ingredient, i.e. "katsuo" (bonito), "sake" (salmon), "wasabi" etc. Furikake is sold in small packets which are each exactly enough for one person.
Furikake can also be used for rice balls (onigiri).
Furikake originated in the 1910s in Kumamoto Prefecture where a pharmacist, Mr Yoshimaru Suekichi, developed the product to supply the calcium (in the form of the bones of small fish) which he thought was lacking in the diet of the Japanese of that time - remember that Japan was not a dairy country. Since 1934 this original ("ganso") type of furikake is produced by Futaba as "Gohan no Tomo," "Friend of Rice."
The packaging of furikake is often childish, as children also today need lots of calcium, but some manufacturers have happily bucked the trend by making "Otona no Furikake" or "furikake for grown-ups," as in the picture below.