JOURNAL / JAPAN etc.(English)

JAPAN [Tokyo]
Japanese Ingredients for the World’s Top Kitchens #15


Healthy Soy, Domestically Grown


日本 [東京] 日本の農業を応援する食品作り 未来に届けたい日本の食材 #15 納豆とテンペ
text by Michiko Watanabe / photographs by Daisuke Nakajima / English text by Susan Rogers Chikuba

Though the times are always changing, there are certain timeless ingredients from Japan that will never go out of style. Yukio Hattori, president of Hattori Nutrition College in Tokyo, introduces unique labors of love—items grown and produced with care and integrity by hardworking suppliers across the country.

After Makoto Yusaku assumed the helm of his family’s natto business, he spent a decade phasing out cheaper imported soybeans and building a market instead among buyers and consumers alike for domestic soy grown organically or with reduced use of agrochemicals. With prices as much as three times more it wasn’t easy, but he felt driven to support Japan’s smallscale farms and the families who run them.

名人たちが栽培する安心・安全、上質な大豆が原料。永田農法や無肥料栽培など無農薬、減農薬の大豆が 北海道十勝清水町、青森、秋田など各地から届く。登喜和食品では20年前まで、容器は経木やワラがメインだったが、今は9割が発泡スチロールや紙カップへ。「納豆の風味は容器の素材によっても変わるんです」

Steamed soybeans and a number of tempeh offerings by Tokiwa Foods make the health benefits of soy easily accessible. 


The work areas for, and staff assigned to, natto and tempeh production are kept separate so that no contamination occurs between the two spore types. 

Yusaku spent seven years perfecting methods of tempeh production. A fresh version keeps the white mold on. “Nutritionally it has the same benefits as tempeh that’s been heat-treated,” he says. “But the flavor profile is completely different. Consumers should have a range of choice.” He has innovated the way natto spores are grown, too, boosting their vitality by lowering oxygen levels in the latter half of fermentation.

(左写真)冷凍保存されているテンペ菌。日本で唯一テンペ菌を販売する秋田の今野商店から取り寄せる。 (右写真)テンペは7年もの試行錯誤を経て商品化に至った。生テンペは白カビと共に大豆の甘味が楽しめ、お菓子のようにもチーズのようにも味わえる。

(photo left)Tempeh starter is procured from Akita Konno Co., Ltd., the sole source in Japan. 
(photo right) Fresh tempeh that hasn’t been heat-treated makes a tasty snack not unlike cheese. 


Traditional wraps of rice straw and paper-thin wood. 


Makoto Yusaku thinks of soybeans as the high-quality soil from which he grows his products.

◎Tokiwa Foods
1-10-1 Nishihara-cho, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo

(The Cuisine Magazine /May 2019)