Highlighting JAPAN Vol.124 September 2018
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34529to the Japanese population. “Even if you get an increase in salary, you don’t double the amount you use when eating,” Ito says. To grow, the company chose two paths: internationalization and diversification.to encourage the coupling of shoyu and American cuisine in its first target market and then held in-store demonstrations. “Japanese food is quite popular abroad now, but at first we didn’t intend to sell shoyu and Japanese food as a set,” Ito states. “We intended it to be used with American home cooking.”approximately 60 percent of American kitchens now stock soy sauce.Francisco, and in 1973 the company completed To begin with, Kikkoman developed recipes Kikkoman’s reasoning was sound: In 1957 Kikkoman opened a sales office in San its first overseas production plant in Wisconsin. Kikkoman also expanded to Europe in the 1970s, and Asia in the 1980s. Today, seven plants brew their famous soy sauce outside of Japan. Just like the first plant in Wisconsin, they depend on local labor, from management to the production floor. This helps cut costs and allows for a more “community-based” style of soy sauce production. “The goal of making our shoyu a global seasoning hasn’t changed,” Ito says. “We want it to become a commonly used seasoning available in every house and every restaurant.” With forward-reaching, flexible thinking of the sort that saw it achieve success abroad in the first place, Kikkoman’s vision of the future—in which the aroma of simmering soy sauce fills homes worldwide— is as bright as the flavor of their honjozo shoyu. 1 2 3 4 5 Making soy sauce at one of their factories in the United StatesPhotos courtesy of Kikkoman CorporationAn in-store demonstration at an American supermarketSoy sauce developed for the non-Japanese market, with Kikkoman’s trademark “all-purpose seasoning” labelExcited customers enjoying a tasting event at a Chinese supermarketKikkoman offers lectures on Japanese cuisine at cooking schools in China

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