An article by Takahashi, the seventh generation, is published in the web media Professional Online. We believe that the pursuit of our own unique world of fungi, as well as the study of fermentation techniques that continue in the tradition, increases the probability of new innovations and also improves the cultural aspect of our business. You can find the background and details in the following article. We hope you will find it interesting._mediainfo._magazine
關於第 7 代高橋的文章在 WEB 媒體的 Professional Online 上發布。 我們相信，追求一個獨特的真菌世界，以及對發酵技術的傳統研究，將增加創造新創新的可能性並改善文化方面。 詳細內容和詳細信息發佈在以下文章中。 我想讓你看看。
At the age of 27, Yasushi Takahashi took over the family business and became the seventh generation of the Yamamo Miso Soy Sauce Brewery, a long-established miso and soy sauce brewery that has been in business since 1867. While focusing on tradition, he is also actively pursuing new ventures such as branding of fungi.
In the world of kurayō, where the emphasis is on repetition of the past, Takamo Gomei Kaisha / Yamamo Miso Soy Sauce Brewery is developing new businesses outside the existing framework, such as wine brewing using bacteria derived from miso and soy sauce. We spoke to Mr Takahashi, Managing Director of Yamamo Miso & Soy Sauce Brewery, who is working hard on the business with a desire to “find the meaning of my succession”.
Communicating value to customers through both inbound and outbound communication.
-Thank you very much for your time today. Could you tell us about the history of your company’s founding?
The company was founded in 1867, the year of the Great Reformation, and I am the seventh generation. I took over the family business when I was 27 years old, and this year marks the 15th year since then. Five years after I took over the family business, we started expanding overseas, and three years after that we started accepting inbound visitors.
As we are an old company, we have a lot of issues to deal with, including the building. Therefore, we would like to solve the issues through renovation, while at the same time stacking the content by accompanying it with new attractions, so that customers can visit us as a final destination.
We believe that we can best convey our value by doing both inbound and outbound, so we have taken the decision to have an inviting function in our own warehouse along with exports.
‘I want to find meaning in what I have inherited’ – a new form of business that is not bound by the style of the industry
-Can you explain the business you are currently engaged in?
As a new business, we are repeatedly conducting test brewing.
As a background, the miso and soy sauce industry differs from the wine industry in that people expect the same taste as last year. It is an industry that is far from innovation, as innovation is not really required. Although we are in such an industry, we are working to innovate in novelty, which has not been required in the industry until now.
There is a strong desire to find the meaning of my own succession, as I myself originally had no intention of taking over the family business and came back from a career in architecture.
We also offer paid tours as part of our inbound initiatives. At 3,300 yen for a tour lasting about one and a half hours, our pricing is high for the industry, but we believe that in order to convert the experience into value and turn it into a business, we need to raise the unit price and create quality that can withstand that.
Japanese craftsmanship is highly regarded around the world, so we believe that if the craftsmanship sites themselves have entertainment value, they can also be launched as experience-based consumption.
We are also actively engaged in efforts to discover new bacteria. This is not an easy task, as even useful bacteria can have the ability to kill, but through repeated work we have been able to discover a special type of bacteria that would fall under our patents.
I think the advantage of our new business is that we are focusing on creating cross-sectional products using this bacteria.
In terms of the characteristics of this fungus, it is capable of producing twice as much flavour as normal. Originally, the fungus was derived from miso soy sauce, so it is halophilic and cannot work in the absence of salt, but this fungus has the ability to ferment without any change.
It is said to be the first time in the world, academically speaking, that wine can be made with bacteria derived from miso soy sauce. The fact that we have found bacteria that can act transversely through our own research is our greatest strength, and ultimately we would like to brand our bacteria.
It has been decided that we will team up with other companies to produce doburoku in order to pursue the potential of our bacteria. We will continue to promote the move to collaborate with places that can brand and apply our bacteria.
-It’s a ground-breaking initiative. What are your prospects for the future?
I would like to continue to work on initiatives that will allow us to evolve while exploring new areas of application for bacteria.
Before the new coronavirus broke out, people from the restaurant NOMA, which has been awarded the world’s best restaurant four times, came to a lecture and workshop we gave at our research centre in Copenhagen.
In fact, due to the new coronavirus, a German chef who was supposed to work in one of noma’s Japanese outlets lost his way and had to come to our company.
The foreign chef’s point of view is also very important, because he catches a different taste than the Japanese, which has allowed us to strengthen our area as a restaurant very much. Due to visa problems, the German chef went back home, but it was a very good experience for our company.
From there, we have created a movement to strengthen the area of gastronomy. Our bacteria has the ability to ferment soy sauce (barley) and also brew beer because of its resistance to hops.
We are considering teaming up with domestic manufacturers, but lager beer originated in Europe, so we would first like to find partners there who share our ideas.
We would like to continue to propose new possibilities for fermentation to the world in the form of collaboration between East and West using bacteria.
Preventing the decline of the industry. Developing business with a sense of mission.
-What are some of the challenges facing the industry as a whole?
I feel that the high barriers for new entrants are a challenge. There are more than 30 breweries left in Akita Prefecture, but the situation is that newcomers have a disadvantage.
The most precious value is to continue with the same production methods established in the past without changing them.
If this situation continues, the number of breweries will decrease and the number of breweries will decline, so we need to change the balance of power so that those with novelty have an advantage.
We will continue to carry on the production methods of the past, but I also want to convey the value of new technologies that I have discovered to the industry.
We are creating new products with free thinking, such as soy sauce with oranges in it, which Japanese people thought could not become a royal road because they were caught up in existing values.
I believe that this industry is also extremely vulnerable in terms of the lack of new entrants, so we want to develop our business with a sense of mission to create new ways of using miso soy sauce from Japan.
-Thank you very much. Finally, could you give a message to the managers and decision-makers who are watching Professional Online?
I myself believe in human creativity, and I believe that humanity has been able to move forward through creativity, even in difficult circumstances.
I want to implement an industry based on creativity, and my philosophy is to ‘rebuild traditional industries with creativity and aesthetics’. We want to extend this philosophy to all fields.
How can we move forward with the ancient technology of fermentation? Since I took over the family business, I have been working to find the answer to that question. If we can add the essence of new discoveries to the accumulation of long years, it will lead to evolution. The existence of Viamver®︎ yeast, which we discovered from the brewer’s yeast that has coexisted in our brewery for a long time, may be able to provide an answer to that question.
Our attempt to find a way to express the efficacy of this new fungus, Viamver®︎ yeast, is first demonstrated in cooking. The umami taste of succinic acid can underpin almost any dish, giving it a taste like the addition of seafood broth. For example, it can be added to soy sauce to make it taste like dashi soy sauce, or to milk to make it taste like cheese. We compose our menus using Viamver®︎ yeast in all of our dishes.
YAMAMO GARDEN CAFE’s dinner course is featured in the January issue of Kappo, “Fermentation in Tohoku”. The cover and the six pages of the article are a testament to the enthusiasm of the editorial staff. We hope you will enjoy the article._mediainfo._magazine
江戸末期創業、皆瀬川の伏流水を源に味噌・醬油の醸造を続ける老舗蔵元『ヤマモ味噌醤油醸造元』。地元の人々に愛され続ける伝統の味噌や醤油、だし醤油などを作り続けるとともに、世界の食文化と和の調味料との融合・進化を目指して “Life is Voyage”という理念を掲げ、海外展開とともに新たな価値創造を行なっている。老舗の急激な変革は、7代目当主である高橋泰さんの人物像を色濃く映すもの。と、いうより、高橋さんの思想、思考、哲学が、老舗に新たな未来をもたらしたと言っても過言ではない。
Fermentation, a daily journey into its wide and deep interior.
Innovation of a long-established company by the 7th generation
After 154 years of history, everything that exists at Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery has a certain meaning.
Founded in the late Edo period, Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company is a long-established brewery that has been brewing miso and shoyu using subterranean water from the Minase River as its source. While continuing to produce traditional miso, soy sauce, dashi soy sauce, and other products that are loved by local people, the company is also creating new value as it expands overseas under the concept of “Life is Voyage,” which aims to fuse and evolve Japanese seasonings with the world’s food culture. The rapid transformation of long-established companies has been a major factor. The rapid transformation of this long-established company is a reflection of the personality of Mr. Yasushi Takahashi, the seventh generation head of the company. Rather, it is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Takahashi’s thoughts, ideas, and philosophy have brought about a new future for the old store.
He says that he had no intention of taking over the business. At university, he studied design engineering and architecture, and naturally thought of becoming an architect. However, when he questioned his inner self about his vision, he realized that it was not to build new buildings, but to create something that fuses historical culture with new culture. Looking back, I saw the family business that had been in existence for six generations.
創業於江戶時代末期的老字號“Yamamo味噌醬油釀造商”，繼續從禦瀨川的地下水中釀造味噌和醬油。在繼續製作深受當地人喜愛的傳統味噌、醬油和高湯醬油的同時，我們以“Life is Voyage”的理念向海外擴張，旨在通過日本調味料融合和發展世界飲食文化。也在創造新的價值。老字號店的快速轉型，是第七代老闆高橋太的性格的強烈體現。可以毫不誇張地說，高橋先生的思想、思想和哲學為這家歷史悠久的商店帶來了新的未來。
If you want to learn more about the 150 years of the brewery, the innovations Takahashi-san has made, and the future he envisions, don’t hesitate to join the “YAMAMO FACTORY TOUR. It is not just a program to visit the brewery, but you will gain knowledge that crosses the macro and micro levels, such as the current state of the world of fermentation, the position of fermentation and Yamamo in the world, and the future of Yamamo and this place called Iwasaki.
The laboratory, which is equivalent to a sake cellar in a sake brewery, used to be a pickles warehouse. It was here that the revolutionary yeast Viamver®︎ was discovered. The yeast in ordinary miso and soy sauce breweries is halophilic (salt-tolerant), which allows for moderate fermentation and high shelf life, but it performs extremely poorly in the absence of salt. In contrast, the yeast used in wine and sake is suppressed by salt, and many of them are unable to ferment. However, Viamver®︎ is an extraordinary yeast that can grow in a wide range of salt concentrations, from 0% to 18%, and is capable of producing alcohol, despite being a fermentation yeast for miso. Discovering a new yeast is said to be more difficult than discovering a new celestial body in the world of fermentation. The Viamver®︎, which can brew both miso and sake, was greeted with a great deal of surprise.
旨みのもととなる有機酸の中でもコハク酸の生成能力を持ち、アルコールの醸成に長け、果実や吟醸香に似た華やかな芳香その他複数の特長を持つ「Viamver®︎」。この酵母を新たなオールに、高橋さんはさらなる航海を続ける。もろみ蔵の中に設えられた、小さなテーブル。「Gustation is Micro Journey（味覚は主観の旅である）」をテーマに展開されるコース料理のスターターとして位置づけられたこのテーブルでは、「Viamver®︎」によって醸されたワイン「PROSLOGION」とアミューズを、味噌の芳香の中で楽しむことができる。この日は鯛の昆布締めと発酵させた柿とクリームチーズのソフリット。添えられているのは、やはり「Viamver®︎」で香味野菜を調味したベジタブルソルトだ。鼻から入る香り、鼻へと抜ける香り、同じ酵母から生まれた複数の味わいが、鮮やかに出合って一体となってゆく官能。このひと皿に続く料理もすべて、「Viamver®︎」の恩恵と高橋さんやシェフたちの実験精神から生まれた。味わうごとに、「Viamver®︎」に翻弄されているような、侵食されてゆくような、不思議な感覚に身震いが起きた。
Viamver®︎ has the ability to produce succinic acid, which is one of the organic acids that give flavor, and is excellent at brewing alcohol. With this yeast as his new oar, Takahashi-san continues his voyage. A small table set up in the moromi storehouse. At this table, which is positioned as a starter for a course based on the theme “Gustation is a Micro Journey,” you can enjoy “PROSLOGION,” a wine brewed with Viamver®︎, and an amuse in the aroma of miso. On this day, we had sea bream with kombu shime. On this day, we had kombujime sea bream with fermented persimmon and cream cheese sofrito. It was accompanied by vegetable salt seasoned with “Viamver®︎”. The aroma that enters through the nose, the aroma that exits through the nose, and the sensation of multiple flavors born from the same yeast vividly meeting and becoming one. All the dishes that followed this one were born from the benefits of Viamver®︎ and the experimental spirit of Takahashi-san and the chefs. As I tasted each dish, I shuddered at the strange sensation of being at the mercy of Viamver®︎, of being invaded by it.
In the majestic storehouse, I found a space, thoughts, and food that I had never experienced before. The future of fermentation, as envisioned by Yamamo, is still full of possibilities, and it has its sights set on the whole world.
在作為鮮味來源的有機酸中，“Viamver®︎”具有產生琥珀酸的能力，善於培養酒精，具有類似於水果和吟釀香的華麗香氣。以這種酵母為新槳，高橋先生將繼續他的航程。莫羅米倉庫裡擺著的一張小桌子。定位為“Gustation is Micro Journey”主題套餐的開胃菜，“Viamver®︎”生產的葡萄酒“PROSLOGION”和amuse搭配味噌，您可以在香氣中享用。這一天，我們吃了海帶緊實的鯛魚和發酵的柿子和奶油芝士索菲托。附上用蔬菜調味的植物鹽，還有“Viamver®︎”。入鼻的香，出入鼻的香，同一種酵母產生的多種風味生動地融合在一起的感性。這道菜之後的所有菜品都是從“Viamver®︎”的好處和高橋先生和廚師們的實驗精神中誕生的。每次品嚐，都會有一種被“Viamver®︎”擺佈，被侵蝕的神秘感覺。
Starter The amuse-bouche, “Sea bream kombu-jime, fermented persimmon and cream cheese sofrito” and “PROSLOGION” are the starters of the course. It is served with vegetable salt seasoned with Viamver®︎. Non-alcoholic champagne from France is served for those who do not drink alcohol.
Salads Seasonal Vegetarian Salad. Tofu mousse and ankimo mousse, vegetable and animal goodness side by side, combined with fresh greens and fermented carrot flakes, nuts and yogurt sauce. Served with fermented butter, fermented kiwi confiture and two kinds of bread.
Hors d’oeuvres Fermented Caviar and Seared Sturgeon. When the decision was made to brew “PROSLOGION”, Takahashi-san already had the idea of this fermented caviar in mind.
Soup Warm Vichyssoise with yeast-soaked potatoes. Porcini flavor and fermented butter are added along the way.
Poisson Fermented menouche rotisserie. Menoukeh marinated in a yeast solution is sautéed and then steamed into a rotisserie. It is served with a sauce of fermented tomatoes, basil and herb oil. The fibrous flesh with its concentrated flavor unravels quickly and pleasantly. This is a non-alcoholic natural white wine brewed with oranges as the main ingredient. After alcoholic fermentation, only the alcohol content was extracted.
Viand Fermented lamb leg grill with fermented berry sauce. The lamb meat, made extra tender by the yeast, has a rounded and polished lamb-like flavor. Non-alcoholic natural wine red made from grapes and cherries in Yuzawa City. The astringency and bitterness of the wine are delicately brought out to give a satisfying sensation as if you were drunk, even though it has 0% alcohol.
Risotto Fermented risotto with minor grains. This risotto is cooked with vegetables and fermented mushroom bouillon. The richness and thickness are achieved without using dairy products, and the succinic acid of Viamver®︎ is utilized.
Dessert 1 Crème Brûlée”: Brûlée made with miso aged for 20 years, served with a brightly acidic raspberry sauce. It can be enjoyed alone or as a set with a drink.
Dessert 2 YAMAMO Soy Gelade: Four kinds of nuts and pralines are kneaded into a marble with Viamver®︎ fermented liquid and miso-soy sauce. Topped with vegetable salt and olive oil. This item can be ordered separately or as part of a drink set.
○About “Kappo” Kappo was first published in August 2002 as a “premium magazine for adults. Targeting the intellectually curious and relaxed adult generation, Kappo introduces history, culture, art, gourmet food, hot springs, travel, and entertainment. The magazine features in-depth articles and bold visuals that present carefully selected information about Sendai, Miyagi and Tohoku. Based on the information obtained by the staff of the editorial department, we try to convey the information with a sense of realism by including various things that we felt on the spot. It is our hope that through this magazine, you will learn about the activities of the diverse and unique people associated with the local area and rediscover the charm of the land.
The media outlet “relay,” which focuses on business succession, wrote an article about the efforts of Takahashi, the seventh generation.
In the short time since he took over the family business, he has been confronted with situations and environments he did not want to be in. He pursued his own identity in the industry, mixing his personal dreams with his livelihood, doing both inbound and outbound business with a pioneering spirit. Struggled to develop an organization that could replace personnel and instill a new philosophy inside and outside the organization. Pursuing new areas of fermentation through technological research both inside and outside the industry, rather than repeating past methods. These are just a few examples.
Taking over a family business means changing the values that existed in the past, and this involves a lot of problem solving and pain. Also, the challenges and pains are blameless and you have to overcome them alone without blaming anyone. This is the very will to face one’s own life and take responsibility, as is the case with many people who are on their own in the secular world and society.
Through the activities of Yamamo, I would like to create an example of how traditional industries can be rebuilt from the local level. I believe that this is the fusion of the inherited industry and the thoughts of the seventh generation, and that it is the cultural and creative role of Japan, where many traditional industries still exist. I hope you will read the article._mediainfo._magazine
From the path of an architect to the seventh generation of a miso and soy sauce brewer. Becoming an unprecedented brewery with creative thinking
Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company, located in Yuzawa City, Akita Prefecture, is a long-established brewery that has been in business since 1867, and Mr. Yasushi Takahashi is the seventh generation to take over the family business. Mr. Yasushi Takahashi, the seventh generation to take over the family business, has been involved in a number of unconventional activities, such as building a new café, revamping the packaging to expand overseas, and recently, using his own yeast, Viamver®, to make alcoholic beverages. Why has he been able to go beyond the conventional boundaries of the brewing industry? We spoke with him about the source of his passion.
The world of miso and soy sauce is lame. That’s why I’m going to change it.
When he was a child, Mr. Takahashi never wrote “soy sauce shop” in his dreams for the future. His parents never asked him to take over the business, and he always thought the old-fashioned family business was “lame.
However, he is the only male among his siblings. In his senior year, he had a hard time deciding whether to go to graduate school to pursue architecture or to go back to university to study fermentation in order to take over the family business.
Mr. Takahashi said, “If I take over the family business, I will live in Akita. I thought that the world was not so sweet that I could balance the family business and my career as an architect. Above all, I didn’t want to make a choice that I would regret when I died. If I took over and ruined the family business, I could give up, but if I didn’t take over and ruined the family business, I would feel guilty. I couldn’t accept the idea of destroying the family business without taking over.
I decided to take over the business and came back to Akita, but there was no commute to the family business, and it was difficult to switch on and off between home and work. He had little free time to spend, and as he had just joined the company, the stress of not having a place to stay grew, and he clashed with his parents. Somewhere in her mind, she blamed her parents for about a year. The image of a “lame miso and soy sauce shop” that he had had since he was a child of repeating the past did not change even after he took over the business.
However, Mr. Takahashi was able to do something because he had this image.
Mr. Takahashi said, “What would you think if you were told that you would be a miso and soy sauce maker for the rest of your life? I’d still say, ‘Lame. The fact that there are no new entrants to the miso and soy sauce industry nationwide means that our industry is not as attractive as other industries. Unfortunately, I think that’s the general perception of our industry at the moment.
In terms of the industry’s value system, if the greatest value is placed on past manufacturing methods and repetition of the past, the odds are not in the favor of new entrants. We need to find value in both past methods and current approaches. Meanwhile, overseas, young craft miso and soy sauce makers are emerging, especially in Europe. They are creating new products without being bound by common sense. The world’s perception of miso and soy sauce is about to change.
There’s no point in carrying on thinking it’s lame. You’ve made your own decision to go down this path, so you have to make it into an industry that you feel is ‘not tacky. I believe that I have a mission to do that.
A Decade of Solitude. Rebranding the company to bring new value to traditional industries.
Mr. Takahashi decided to turn his family’s business into a “non-dull” industry. Originally, he was planning to expand overseas, so he rebranded the entire company by writing labels in Japanese and English and creating a foreign-language website so that it could be sold overseas.
Mr. Takahashi said, “What I pay attention to when I start something new is to review the past. There is always a flow from the past in what we have now, and within that flow, there are things that will never change. Rather than denying the past and moving forward, we try to respect the past and then build new values.
Miso and soy sauce is not something we made ourselves. I think miso and soy sauce shops are in the business of selling the traditions that have been created in the past. When we think about how we can sell our products overseas, we can add value because our miso and soy sauce are brewed in historic breweries. We need to rebuild the tradition and rebrand it. I believed that by doing so, we could expand overseas.
Two years after Mr. Takahashi took over, the company began doing business with Taiwan, and in its fifth year, it began doing business overseas in earnest. Mr. Takahashi’s own rebranding efforts have been highly evaluated, and in 2013 he received the Good Design Award.
As the seventh generation, Mr. Takahashi was off to a good start from the outside. However, things did not go so well inside the company. After graduating from university, Mr. Takahashi joined the company as one of the youngest members of the management team. He had to organize the older employees who had been with the company for a long time. In addition to the daily routine tasks, Mr. Takahashi asked employees to be more creative in their work by asking for their opinions on plans to increase sales and improve the efficiency of internal operations. There was a time when employees in their 30s and 40s who could not keep up with the changes in the environment were quitting every month. He said that at that time, he was most emotionally exhausted because he thought that he would “destroy the family business” due to the human resource issues.
Mr. Takahashi said, “I took it for granted that if there were creative elements in our daily lives, it would be more enjoyable for our employees. But that wasn’t the case. On the contrary, some of them found it hard. I knew that my actions were not understood by the other employees, but the trend of people quitting for a while was quite heartbreaking.
After about 10 years, I finally realized my true feelings. After about ten years, I finally found someone who understood my true intentions.
Parents’ reaction is the world’s reaction. Communicate what you want to do through your customers.
It took some time to get his employees, and even his parents, who were closest to him, to understand.
Mr. Takahashi’s parents were against the idea of setting up a café space, hoping that it would help revitalize the community by attracting activists and stimulate the community and employees. Today, the entrance is decorated with modern art in vivid colors that seem far removed from the image of a miso and soy sauce shop, and the desks and chairs are antiques. There are antique desks and chairs, and the Buddhist altar can be used as an eat-in space, but Mr. Takahashi had his own reasons for doing so.
Mr. Takahashi: “My parents have always watched over me, even though they didn’t understand, but when I told them I was going to use the old Buddhist room as a café space, they objected, saying, ‘You can’t show the Buddhist room to other people. However, I overcame the opposition and opened the café, and as a result, I got a good response from customers.
It’s not that we ignore our old customers. For example, we’ve designed new packaging, but we’ve kept the labels on the old bottles of soy sauce. I think it’s a good way to test the impression we have on the old users, to see what their fathers say about something new. Even if they are against it at first, their parents may change their minds based on the reaction of the customers. The process of getting the parents’ consent through the customers has become second nature to me.
To create an attractive industry that my childhood self would want to inherit.
Thanks to the reaction of the customers and Mr. Takahashi’s encouragement, his parents now even explain the Buddhist altar. Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery continues to work outside the traditional concept of a miso and soy sauce brewery, and has recently been hiring more and more young employees.
They offer tours of the brewery where you can experience traditional production and innovative approaches, and in recent years, they have discovered the unique Viamver® yeast (patent pending) that brews umami from test brewing, which was presented at the Japanese Society of Brewing Science. In recent years, we have discovered the proprietary Viamver® yeast (patent pending), which brews delicious flavor from test brewing, and presented it at the Japanese Society of Brewing Research. In addition, we have formed ASTRONOMICA®, a yeast research and development team, and have begun offering full courses using Viamver® yeast in all dishes. This fall, the company will present a range of products using this yeast at an exhibition in Amsterdam, and will move forward as a brewer working on branding with its own yeast strain.
In addition, we are also working to revitalize the local community. The ASTRONOMICA® development team includes not only chefs and researchers from Japan and abroad, but also architects and artists from outside the company, creating a variety of activities in the region. Most recently, we organized a team of outside professionals and interns from high school and college students to start a community garden project to revive abandoned farmland and open it up to local people. From this experimental initiative, we are now expanding its application to the entire local area, with the goal of reducing the number of abandoned fields to zero, and pursuing sustainability for the community.
Mr. Takahashi: “Just because we are a miso and soy sauce brewery, if we continue to do the same old things, we will one day decline. We want to achieve universality without getting caught up in preconceived notions, and make the industry so attractive that my childhood self would look at me now and think, ‘I want to inherit this, I want to do this. I want to show the world that by combining Japanese traditions from the past with personal creativity, we can offer new value to the world.
Mr. Takahashi is engaged in a series of activities that are unusual for a miso and soy sauce brewer. We look forward to seeing what he does in the future.
○About “relay” Open information on business succession. Nowadays, there are no “successors”. Nearly 50,000 small and medium-sized businesses close down every year. This is despite the fact that nearly half of them are profitable. “I wish I had known about this earlier,” many people say. If only we knew more about the problems and struggles of business owners. If only the information had been more open. If only the information were more open, we could “take over” the business more smoothly and naturally. We will continue to increase the number of entrepreneurs who relate their thoughts.
The monthly magazine “PROJECT DESIGN” wrote an article about Yamamo’s efforts under the title of “Legacy-Based Social Change from a Brewery”. It was also featured in the gravure at the beginning of the magazine, and I believe it provided a comprehensive understanding of our efforts to date.
In addition to brushing up on the company’s philosophy, I would like to continue with these initiatives, such as organizational development to reorganize teams, product development based on innovative basic research, development of inbound and outbound services, and regional development to regenerate from the local level, in order to create the ideal environment and situation. I hope to continue these efforts to create an ideal environment and situation. I hope you will read this article. _mediainfo._magazine
Akita Prefecture Project Nippon Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company : Rebranding 150 Years of Tradition
Legacy-based Social Change from a Brewery
In Yuzawa City, Akita Prefecture, there is the Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company, which has been in business for over 150 years since its founding in the late Edo period. Although it is a long-established brewery, Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce is also making efforts to disseminate its culture not only domestically but also to the rest of the world by building a gallery and a cafe. We interviewed Mr. Yasushi Takahashi, the seventh generation head of the brewery, who aims to fuse tradition and innovation, about his thoughts and future business plans.
Yasushi Takahashi Managing Director, TAKAMO & Corp. / Seventh generation of Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company Rebranding the brewery and starting overseas expansion. He discovered Viamver® yeast in the 10th year of test brewing. Formed a team ASTRONOMICA® with researchers, chefs, architects, and artists, and applied it to menu development. With fermentation as “coexistence with the ecosystem,” the team reconstructs tradition with a creative aesthetic sense, incorporating the context of urban development and social change at home and abroad.
事業継承後は、「“Life is Voyage” 世界の食文化と和の調味料が融合し、進化していくこと」を新たな企業理念に掲げ、2012年に初の海外輸出に成功。また、「土地や建物に宿るレガシーを見出し、新たなコンテンツとして発信する」ことを目指し、100年以上前に４代目が作庭した庭に融雪装置を整備し、本来の形を維持しながらも持続可能にしたり、蔵の一部を改装してアートギャラリーとカフェを新設したりした。2017年からは、蔵や醸造工程を見学できるインバウンド向けのファクトリーツアーも開始している。
Carrying on a traditional industry while pursuing our own style
Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company was established in 1867 in Iwasaki, Yuzawa City in southeastern Akita Prefecture, and has been brewing miso and soy sauce for over 150 years. The area, where the tranquil Minase River flows, was an important center for waterborne trade and prospered as a castle town and post town. Seeing a need for miso and soy sauce, the founder, Takahashi Mosuke, began making miso using the beautiful water and richly flavored rice of Iwasaki. That was the beginning of Yamamo.
Today, Yamamo is led by the seventh generation, Mr. Yasushi Takahashi. He originally wanted to be an architect and “had no intention of taking over the family business,” says Yasushi, who majored in architecture at university. However, as he was about to graduate, he questioned his own values and decided to return to his hometown, saying, “If I don’t take over the family business, I will regret it.
After taking over the business, he set up a new corporate philosophy, “‘Life is Voyage’: the fusion and evolution of the world’s food culture and Japanese seasonings,” and succeeded in exporting his products overseas for the first time in 2012. The company also aims to “discover the legacy of the land and buildings and transmit it as new content. In 2017, the company began offering factory tours for inbound visitors to see the brewery and the brewing process.
In 2017, the company began offering factory tours for inbound visitors, where they can tour the brewery and the brewing process. “We aim to become the final destination by digging deep into the history and culture of our company and the region, and layering the contents in the brewery. Traditional industries connect the thoughts of our predecessors and lead to the present day. We believe that it is the role of traditional industries to convey messages that transcend time through industry, culture, and art, and to allow visitors and local residents to experience them with a sense of beauty.
One of his challenges is to research new yeasts and develop products using them. One of his challenges is to research new yeasts and develop products using them. While conducting test brewing at the brewery, Tai discovered a new yeast and presented it at the Japanese Society of Brewing Research.
“The yeast, which he named Viamver®, could be used to brew miso, soy sauce, and wine, and also had the unusual property of improving the meat quality of meat and fish.
“Typically, yeast used for brewing sake is killed by salt, so it cannot be used for cooking. However, Viaｍver was a rare yeast that could be used for both sake and cooking. The probability of discovering such a yeast would be as astronomical as discovering a new planet. For this reason, we combined the words for planet and amber and named it Viamver®, and the research and development team ASTRONOMICA®, meaning the ancient universe.
Development of a full course using the same yeast for the entire menu
After the discovery of the yeast, Mr. Yasushi worked with chefs from Japan and abroad who supervise the café, as well as researchers who had conducted joint research on the yeast, to develop a menu using the yeast, and created a full course using the yeast in all dishes. It is said that no other course in the world uses the same yeast for all the dishes.
“There are three stages of yeast fermentation: the growth stage, the steady state stage, and the convergence stage, and the best time to use yeast is different for each dish. The best time to use yeast fermentation liquid differs from dish to dish, so we repeatedly experiment with each dish to find out which time of the year is best. The taste and aroma of the yeast fungus changes when the wine is fresh and when it is aged, so the chef decides the taste of each dish accordingly and chooses the wine to go with it.
What he would like to do in the future is to make beer. The company has already started brewing wine using a new yeast through joint research with a research center in Akita Prefecture. With its traditional and innovative technology, the company has conducted workshops and presentations at international development organizations such as NION, an urban development team in Berlin, and SPACE10, a research and development team in Copenhagen. This fall, they will share their efforts with “MONO JAPAN” in Amsterdam. They would like to collaborate with overseas manufacturers in the creation of beer.
“We want to develop a beer that combines yeast from Japanese seasonings with the food culture of the continent, and market it both in Japan and overseas. We are living in an age where various experiments are being conducted to see how Japanese and Western cultures can be fused together. I believe that Japan’s traditional industries will be able to demonstrate their strength in such an era.
Fusing Japanese and Western Food Cultures for Legacy-Based Social Change
The brewing industry itself is about cultivating the region,” says Mr. Yasushi.
“By turning the grains grown in the region into miso, soy sauce, sake, etc., the value of agricultural products can be increased tenfold or even a hundredfold. This will enrich the producers and support the entire region. If we can brush up on this kind of industry and successfully incorporate it into the modern world, we can reweave our history and climate and redefine our regional identity.
Furthermore, it is the mission of those involved in traditional industries to act as the standard-bearers.
“I want to transform Yamamo into a place that pursues regional sustainability while maintaining the foundation of the miso and soy sauce industries. I call it ‘legacy-based social change.
At the same time as protecting and nurturing traditional industries, I want to discover what only I can do and create new innovations. In order to pursue both, Mr. Tai feels that “the best way is to explore the roots of your own birth and upbringing.
“I think this approach can be applied not only to those who inherit a business, but actually to everyone.”
The development team, ASTRONOMICA®, is currently expanding its activities to include architects and artists from outside the company. They are collaborating on a project basis to create a variety of activities in the community.
For example, this summer they launched a community garden project to revive an abandoned field owned by Yamamo and open it to the local community. This will be used as a test case, and its application will be expanded to the entire Iwasaki region, with the goal of reducing the amount of abandoned land to zero in pursuit of regional sustainability.
“We are living in an age of infectious diseases, and people all over the world are searching for the next way of life and environment. We believe that the local brewing industry, which once cultivated the region, can take on a new role by connecting with the world’s culture and industry, and advocate a way of being that is appropriate for the next generation.
We believe that the local brewing industry, which once cultivated the region, can play a new role in connecting with global culture and industry, and advocate a way of being that is appropriate for the next generation. The role of the local in a changing world may be to create opportunities to think about structural changes in society as a whole, while respecting the local way of being.
○About “PROJECT DESIGN” Business Concept Monthly is a business magazine based on the concept of fostering the “conceptual ability” to develop new markets and providing information that leads to start-ups, new businesses, and regional revitalization.