In Yamamo, each of the seven storehouses had its own Shinto shrine. At the discretion of the head of the family in each period, the altar and its utensils were moved to the present form. The water deity is enshrined in the garden, and the Inari deity is enshrined in the storeroom and Buddhist room. The name of Aki, the wife of the fourth generation, is written on the bell cord of the household shrine altar in the storeroom, giving us an idea of the time period and the handiwork of the owner. Since the beginning of the renovation, we have been conducting research based on these clues, seeking opinions from Shinto priests and scholars, and installing gods and Buddha in their proper places and with their proper content.
The number of multiple household shrine shelves and shrines has led to the belief that many gods reside in the brewery. Because of this, we believe that the gods dwell in all of our buildings, and we have decided to provide a shimenawa, which means a boundary, from the entrance of the building. During this year’s rice harvest, we placed a drum-shaped shimenawa at the bottom of the gassho. We also moved the shimenawa and bell cord to the shrine shelf in the storehouse where Viamver® yeast, discovered through years of research, was found, and renewed some of them to preserve their meaning and intent for future generations.
In both the West and the East, since ancient times, people have made invisible brews from harvests, including sake and wine, and used them in rituals and beliefs. The relationship between breweries and animism, which is a way of expressing gratitude for the land’s climate and harvests, is very interesting, and breweries are a rare industry that has made a living out of it and have done so as a ritual. How can we express this in the modern age, and convey it with a sense of beauty and emotion? We will continue to work on this with a sense of joy.
Many of the interns who visit Yamamo share our current efforts and are willing to share their journey with us. However, many of them have yet to develop a clear vision or direction for their future. On the other hand, there are many people in our company who have found their own direction, and spending time together in such an environment can be difficult for interns. In such an environment, I think Gorai-san faced the direction of the future that everyone goes through.
In addition to her regular duties as an office and café staff member, Gorai-san has taken responsibility for the revitalization of the community garden and other local projects. She is from an urban area, but the fact that she was able to solve local problems such as abandoned land, sowing seeds, harvesting them, cooking them in the café, and guiding tours all in one go may have helped her to find something that she is confident about. I am happy to have been able to provide the site and environment that created such an opportunity in the months she spent with us. I will continue to watch over her as she moves forward into the next phase of her career.
I found out about Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery in the spring of my senior year of college, after I had decided to postpone my study abroad due to Corona and had not decided what I wanted to do in the future. It was a miso and soy sauce brewery with a café, and when I visited the website, there were tabs for ART and ASTRONOMICA. I was interested in both art and science, so I intuitively thought it sounded interesting, and that’s when I contacted them. Looking back after working there for about four months, I don’t think I have ever experienced such a dense period of time in my life where I changed so much. Before I came to Yamamo, I had a wide variety of interests, but I didn’t try to get into them, and I lived my life half-heartedly, with no sense of self in any of them. However, being involved with the people who work here has made me realize that I didn’t know how to do anything hard and was afraid to follow my dreams.
While the team members have changed a lot since the spring, I have been the main person working on Yamamo’s field and the main house project. There are many emotions that I have learned through growing vegetables and the hard work of converting abandoned land into fields and cleaning up a large house that had not been inhabited for a while, but they have given me not only a sense of accomplishment, but also an opportunity to express myself that had been sleeping deep inside. I am grateful to have been in an environment where I could receive some form of feedback on my daily output, which encouraged me to grow. From the fall, I will be living in Tokyo and starting to pursue my dream, which is becoming clearer. I have just taken the first step towards my dream, and I believe that after learning how to deal with the things I love in the past four months, I will be able to jump into a new world with a little more confidence than before, even if I leave Yamamo.
Karin Gorai Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company, intern at the Social Change Division. Enrolled in Akita International University to experience multiculturalism through daily life. She spent a year of her Corona disaster in her hometown of Osaka, and lived in Akita again while waiting for an opportunity to study abroad in Estonia, but it was decided to cancel her study abroad. Currently, she is interested in hospitality, and is exploring the relationship between art and food culture.
In urban and community development, how we address public space is key to our projects, and the Brooklyn urban development team we visited on our 2016 trip to Central and North America created the impetus for this by strategically using underutilized land for public use. In addition, Takahashi, the seventh generation, participated in a social innovation program for food and agriculture in Seattle in 2015, and observed the fieldwork of solving social issues through community gardens there. Based on this knowledge, we have come to think that we can play a part in the development of the region by turning the abandoned farmland owned by Yamamo into a project and using it as a “COMMUNITY GARDEN” for public use.
The concept of public use of land has been around for several years, but we have not had the opportunity to implement it due to manpower issues, relationships with local people, and compatibility with the local environment. With the increasing number of high school and college students coming and going over the past few years, and the generational change in employees, we finally decided to start this summer. We will organize him and her, and through the utilization of abandoned farmland, induce diverse exchanges such as intergenerational communication, and through the cooperation of diverse attributes, revitalize the region and realize individual skill improvement and career development.
With the cooperation of Yuzawa City, the “YAMAMO COMMUNITY GARDEN PROJECT” will be published in the “Kashimakanpo”, the local public relations magazine for the Iwasaki area, and will be shared widely with the local community. Our goal is that this project, which includes education and intergenerational exchange based on citizen activities, will lead to the regeneration of the region.
[ Community Garden Case Study ]
1.Preservation of indigenous species Gardens and fields created to protect not only improved varieties but also “native species” that have been optimized and rooted in the climate. 2.Ecosystem maintenance A community garden created to maintain the ecosystem of a nearby lake. 3.Racial issues Community gardens created to protect neighborhoods for people of color. 4.Poverty problem A community garden to solve the problem of poverty, where anyone can take home fruits and vegetables from the garden.
Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company is launching a community garden project in cooperation with university and high school students in the prefecture. Community gardens are not planned, established, and operated by the government, but by local residents as a voluntary activity. The abandoned farmland owned by Yamamo will be used as a test case, and its application will be expanded to the entire Iwasaki area, with the goal of reducing the number of abandoned farmlands to zero, in pursuit of regional sustainability. We will welcome young interns from universities and high school students to promote diverse communication. In the future, we will create lawns and hills in the community garden, making it a playground for local children and a gathering place for the child-rearing generation. We will also set up a field where local residents can casually drop by and hold events during harvest time and in the community garden, creating a place for multigenerational communication in the entire community. Through this project, we aim to revitalize the community. Through this project, we hope to increase the number of human resources who will go on to revitalize the community and solve local issues. _All interns at Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company
Yamamo Intern, Yuzawa Shohoku High School 3rd year student, Konoka Sasaki After I got involved with Yamamo, I wanted to be able to speak my mind independently. I want to not only listen to what others have to say, but also to add to what they have to say in order to advance the project. I’m really excited to be involved in a big project. First, we had to sort out the trash in the abandoned farmland to start the project. It was a very daunting task, but I really wanted to turn it into a field with my own hands. I am also very much looking forward to this project as I have not had many opportunities to participate in events and projects that communicate with the local community. I would be happy if more people would be interested in this project.
Yamamo Internship, Akita International University4th year student, Karin Gorai When I saw the abandoned farmland covered in weeds, I doubted whether it would really be possible to turn it into a farm. The sheer amount of weeds made me despair many times, but I think the reason why I was able to continue working on this project without giving up was because I had seen Yamamo’s ever-changing appearance from my side. Witnessing the moment when something that I thought I couldn’t change anyway was transforming, I somehow changed my mind that I should be able to turn this land full of grass and garbage into a field. Through this project, I feel that running a community garden can make a difference in the lives of the town and the people who live there. In the events I plan to organize in the future, I would like to share this realization with the local people.
Anju Kinoshita_YAMAMO SOCIAL CHANGE DIVISION Intern Report
We have suddenly become a society living with infectious diseases, and the nature of society, organizations, and individuals is changing dramatically. In addition, due to the vast overflow of information and services, many things, both public and private, are becoming multitasking. In an age where the waves of change are too great, it may have become difficult to carry on as an individual.
Kinoshita-san achieved his biggest goal of going to graduate school while working at Yamamo, a traditional industry and locally located company. I think it was a great pleasure for both him and the team to be able to accomplish his dream in the midst of a mixture of new approaches and problem solving. While solving problems locally, we tackle new things on an individual subjective basis. We are happy and grateful that our human and cultural environment has some impact on people in their adolescence and youth, and that they return it to us. I wonder what Kinoshita-san will learn, what he will gain, and where he will go in this foreign land of layered history and culture. As a member of the team, I look forward to seeing what he will learn, what he will gain, and where he will go. _internreport
This intense seven months has given me more learning and blessings than I can express in a few words. My learning at Yamamo cannot be summed up in the inorganic term of “duties”; I believe that my learning was generated by a mixture of the situation Yamamo was in from the second half of 2020 to 2021, my personal situation, and the individuality of each person involved.
For seven months, I survived in Yuzawa under record-breaking snowfall, while taking entrance exams for graduate school, applying for scholarships, and working as a research assistant during my last semester as an undergraduate student. Even when I doubted my potential and felt overwhelmed by anxiety, the Yamamo team, with whom I constantly talked about hope for the future, pushed me forward. It was because of my friends who believed in me more than I believed in myself that I was accepted into three overseas graduate schools.
Through our activities on the theme of the word “creative,” we believe that we have been able to glimpse the duality of the “hope” and “curse” of being creative. If abnormal obsession is the source of creativity, then sacrifices are sure to follow in the process. The pain and joy that comes from people living together may be a small thorn in the side of humanity that is both universal and unnoticed. Now that I am aware of their existence, I feel that I am being asked to grow further and be more determined.
I guess the unique thing about Yamamo is that even after the internship is over, there is still a sense of tension. A comfortable sense of urgency, if you will. This feeling of being driven to take on a challenge is both a blessing and a curse for me as I fly to an unknown country. It is a blessing and a curse for me as I fly to an unknown country. I feel that I must live my life in a way that does not shame the people I have fought with.
木下 明夢樹 ヤマモ味噌醤油醸造元 社会変革事業部インターン。 高校の英語教育に疑問を持ち、より楽しい英語を教えられる教師になるために国際教養大学に入学。「楽しい」学習とは何かを学ぶうちに、自分の疑問は日本の教育界のクリエイティビティの欠如だと気づく。国際教養大学を卒業し、秋からは英国ケンブリッジ大学の修士課程(Arts, Creativity, and Education)へ進学予定の研究者の卵。
Anju Kinoshita Intern at Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company, Social Change Division. With doubts about high school English education, she enrolled in Akita International University to become a teacher who can teach English in a more fun way. As she learned what “fun” learning was, she realized that her doubts were due to the lack of creativity in the Japanese education system. After graduating from Akita International University, she is now an aspiring researcher who plans to enter a master’s program (Arts, Creativity, and Education) at the University of Cambridge in the UK in the fall.
In a society that coexists with infectious diseases, the living and working environment is changing drastically. Many students are in the midst of that change, and each continues to explore. Yamamo’s internship is also under the influence, and I feel that the number of students who are aiming for our company is increasing to ask for the formulation of a new vision and the preparedness that accompanies it.
Sato has been connected since he was a high school student, and he has heard that he has passed Akita International University. She met a few years later, she was as straightforward as she used to be, and she had her own style while being humble about her learning. The apparel industry she desires has some applicability to many other industries, and while she is in her different industry, she develops hybrid products, services and organizations in her area of expertise. I think that we will go. Since she is in the second grade, she will be on the scene as a staff member during her studies such as long vacations. I look forward to her. _internreport
When I was in the third year of junior high school, feeling the difficulty of living in Japan and dreaming of studying abroad for a long time, I met Yasushi Takahashi, the 7th generation head of Yamamo Miso Soy Sauce Brewer. I still vividly remember talking to me about my future dreams since then. After that, my wish came true and I went to Germany for a year from the summer of my first year of high school. Every day I met people, languages, food, everything was inspiring. At the same time as I was exposed to different cultures, I also realized the charm of Japan that I had never known before. After graduating from high school and going on to Akita International University, I was forced to work as a member of Yamamo when Yasushi called out to me, who only went to the computer every day from morning till night due to corona. It was decided. In addition to conversations with customers who come to the store, we will maximize the appeal of Yamamo, which cannot be learned in class, through active conversations that are exchanged within the company on a daily basis and tasting of course menus conducted by all cafe staff. I witnessed the management method and branding that I can fully feel the commitment to.
Right now, my experience at Yamamo is invaluable to me, who is interested in marketing and branding in the apparel industry. While it has the Japanese character of being a brewery of miso soy sauce that has been around for a long time, it is said that this space, which is not Japanese in a sense, creates the Yamamo character by removing the difficulty of living in Japan that I felt as a child. think. I am grateful that you will continue to work in the future, and I will do my best to give Yamamo a new breeze.
Nene Sato Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company, intern at the Social Change Division. After studying abroad in Germany for a long time in high school, she entered Akita International University, and is currently studying with the goal of going back to Europe to study in the summer of 2022.