Highlighting JAPAN Vol.124 September 2018

12NOT surprisingly for a condiment so The complex bouquet of simmering soy sauce is an aroma intimately familiar to Japanese, and one increasingly recognizable to those beyond Japan’s borders as well. Known as shoyu in Japan, soy sauce is ubiquitous in Japanese cuisine, whether it’s being drizzled on roasting corn or adding flavorful depths to vegetable, fish and meat dishes.water into shoyu over the course of several months. “All our standard soy sauce is brewed in this way, resulting in the same quality,” Ito says. Each batch is checked for quality, including color, flavor and aroma. “Because shoyu is made with microorganisms, it has more than three hundred aromatic components,” Ito explains. “It’s a very complex aroma. That’s why it goes with virtually anything.” The jump from Japan to world markets took place in the post-WWII years. “After the war, quite a few Americans were in Japan, such as journalists and businessmen,” he notes, “and people saw them consuming shoyu.” It was a eureka moment: maybe there was a market for soy sauce beyond Japan. The timing was good, with the Japanese economy starting to take off and businesses expanding. The growth of the shoyu business, however, was tied 28HELEN LANGFORD-MATSUIintegral to the diet of 127 million people, Japan has a lot of soy sauce manufacturers—over 1200, in fact. Among them, Kikkoman Corporation boasts the largest market share. Even beyond the island nation’s shores, Kikkoman’s iconic red-capped shoyu dispenser is recognizable the world over. Although incorporated in 1917 under the name Noda Shoyu Co. Ltd., Kikkoman has a history that stretches back centuries. “Kikkoman began with the merger of eight soy sauce breweries in the cities of Noda and Nagareyama in Chiba Prefecture,” explains Hiroshi Ito of Kikkoman’s Corporate Communications department. Kikkoman still follows the traditional honjozo way of brewing soy sauce, in which microorganisms turn steamed soybeans, roasted wheat, salt and The Japanese Seasoning on Everyone’sTable

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