"Soy sauce is seasoning every home needs."
April 10, 2015 1:48 PM Subscribe
Soy sauce makes "miracle" comeback in tsunami-wrecked Japan
When the tsunami warning sounded, workers at the two-centuries-old soy sauce maker in northeastern Japan ran up a nearby hill to a shrine for safety, and watched in disbelief as towering waters swallowed their factory. They all believed the business, started in 1807, and its precious fungal cultures that give soy sauce its unique taste were lost forever. Everyone except for Michihiro Kono, the ninth-generation son of the founding family. Four years later, Yagisawa Shoten Co. has been saved through Kono's conviction, crowd-funding and the unexpected survival of its vital ingredient.
Taking over as president from his father shortly after the disaster, Kono kept the company going even when it didn't have a single product to sell. The tsunami wiped out not only the factory but also the entire inventory. The damage was estimated at 220 million yen ($2 million).… From the start, Kono kept paying the salaries of his 38 workers, more than half of them women, and initially asked them to do volunteer work, distributing emergency food and clothing to tsunami victims. He believed a person without work would lose the mental energy to keep going.
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