"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.
posted by Lexica (15 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
 
Works for me. Great story.

"And soy sauce is seasoning every home needs," she said proudly.

QFT
posted by chavenet at 2:31 PM on April 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


[Some link weirdness, hopefully fixed now.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:33 PM on April 10, 2015


Umami FTW! Seriously, I add soy in small amounts to all kinds of things to enhance flavors.
posted by mfu at 2:50 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wonder if there's a good source for it outside Japan. I'd be all for buying some Miracle soy sauce.
posted by CrystalDave at 3:09 PM on April 10, 2015


It looks like they sell direct. Uncertain on international shipping/etc... Haven't used google translate. But now I want to try some. I wish they made sales easily accessible to English speakers.
posted by el io at 3:14 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I had seen that they kept Yagisawa going by bottling soy sauce for other people, but I didn't realize the cultures had been saved.

God my heart aches for the people of Tohoku. I'll take any good news I can get.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:22 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Okay, what's this? I think Google Translate is saying "miso cheesecake", but I still don't know what that is.
posted by benito.strauss at 3:37 PM on April 10, 2015


An interview with the Kono family from a couple of years back here [starts 17:15]. Doesn't add too much but it's nice to put a face to a story.
posted by cromagnon at 3:37 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Uncertain on international shipping/etc

On the site they say they only ship within Japan.
posted by anazgnos at 3:44 PM on April 10, 2015


I want some too.
posted by pibeandres at 4:03 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


benito.strauss, I think that's a pão de ló (a sweet sponge cake) made with miso. Adding miso to sweets is kind of a thing right now (miso brownies are awesome).
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:07 PM on April 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Given that you can start yogurt, kombucha, and even beer from commercial products, I'm slightly surprised they couldn't get their culture from packaged versions of their sauce from before the tsunami. But I know zero about making soy sauce.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 4:10 PM on April 10, 2015


cromagnon: “An interview with the Kono family from a couple of years back here [starts 17:15]. Doesn't add too much but it's nice to put a face to a story.”
That's where I saw it. I trawled through my NHK links looking for it and was bummed when I couldn't find it. I forgot about Destination Flavour: Japan.

CheeseDigestsAll: “I'm slightly surprised they couldn't get their culture from packaged versions of their sauce from before the tsunami.”
I'm not sure that would work. I don't think the finished product is a live culture anymore. Here's a BEGIN Japanology about soy sauce that explains the process.
posted by ob1quixote at 4:21 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


It looks like they sell direct. Uncertain on international shipping/etc...

It says free shipping for orders over 10,000Y. I don't think they meant international shipping.

They have products on Amazon.co.jp and I know they ship internationally. Just input 八木澤の味噌 into the search field, here's a sample link for a gift set. Unfortunately, there is no English translation of their pages. I don't think that's their "miracle sauce."
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:17 PM on April 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think Google Translate is saying "miso cheesecake", but I still don't know what that is.

that sounds delicious is what that is
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:01 AM on April 11, 2015


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