Greatly damaged by the earthquake
”Yagisawa Shoten” is a manufacturer of soy sauce and miso which has a long history since its establishment in 1807. They had a cellar and a factory in Rikuzentakata city. During the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, they lost most of these facilities. Almost 80 percent of similar businesses in Rikuzentakata city lost their buildings during the disaster. And therefore, the whole city is still under reconstruction even to this day. We visited the new store of Yagisawa Shoten that was finished in the summer of 2012 and heard from the president, Michihiro Kono about their progress since the disaster, and the current soy sauce making process.
Soon after the disaster, Kono thought that nothing could be done without people, so he continued to pay his employees and treated volunteering in the community as company work. In May he asked soy sauce makers in other prefectures to create soy sauce by OEM, and was able to restart selling as Yagisawa Shoten Soy Sauce.
Old taste even in the new environment
Currently, they have restarted making soy sauce in their new factory and new facilities, but it has not been easy to regain the flavor they had before. One of the reasons is the environment of the cellar. Kono told us, ”The yeast and lactic acid bacteria that was living in the cedar barrel in the historical cellar had not been scientifically analyzed. ”
Striving to be number one in Japan again
The importance of soy sauce is of course the taste, but fragrance and color is just as important, Kono said. ”We aim for our soy sauce to be ”aromatic soy sauce””. To prove those words, Yagisawa soy sauce has been popular, and previous patrons say ”It is best to use for food such as grilled fish.” The color is not black but a deep red. As fermentation progresses, the red becomes deeper. The ”umami” that is produced by the fermentation comes out strong.
- Yagisawa Shoten Co., Ltd
- Suwa-41 Yahagichō, Rikuzentakata-shi, Iwate Prefecture
- URL http://www.yagisawa-s.co.jp/