Reproducing Shogun-Era Shoyu in Kozaki Fermentation Town
Shoyu is a rare and elegant fermented condiment in terms of taste and aroma. It boasts all five tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, bitterness and umami. The five tastes are brilliantly blended. Also, the shoyu aroma is quite plentiful. About 300 kinds of aromas can be detected, ranging from fruits such as apple and pineapple to flowers like roses and hyacinths. Shoyu is also an all-purpose seasoning, containing only simple ingredients. “I never use ketchup or other sauces because shoyu is sufficient for any food!” Hanji chuckles.
But why is he taking on this challenge now? The decision wasn’t Fujihan’s alone. The town of Kozaki helped Hanji rekindle his spirit. Once a year, Kozaki holds a sake brewery festival, where several well-known sake breweries participate. This festival attracts about 50,000 people from outside the town. As the town has been enthusiastic about revitalizing the local economy with fermentation products, Fujihan wanted to contribute to the movement. This motivated Hanji to reproduce the visionary shoyu. “We stopped making shoyu once, but Kozaki is gaining momentum and so many people are coming here from far away to enjoy authentic sake and fermentation products. Then, I thought why not contribute to the rising popularity!” says Hanji.
His desire to contribute to the local community turned into a decision to make Tokugawa-period shoyu. While people are shifting toward foreign condiments in Japan, more people are making shoyu at home. Some manufacturers have productized moromi as a daily condiment, and more people are paying attention to it. Will shoyu, as a graceful traditional fermented condiment, be able to restore its status? The Shogun-era shoyu is planned to complete in the autumn of 2020. What will it taste like? We are all looking forward to the finished product!
Photo provided by Fujihan Shoyu, Text by Motomi Takahashi
*3 しょうゆ情報センター https://www.soysauce.or.jp/knowledge/data