JOURNAL / JAPAN etc.(English)

JAPAN [Kanagawa]
Japanese Ingredients for the World’s Top Kitchens #41


An Old-World Taste, with No Additives


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.


No preservatives, no expanders, and no chemical seasonings—just the tender, savory umami that’s yielded by hands-on smoke-curing over a direct fire fueled with cherry wood. Until you’ve tried Jiro Yajima’s products—they’re made only with fresh local Kanto-area pork that has never been frozen—you won’t really have experienced just how flavorful hams and sausages can be.

“The business goes back to 1925,” Yajima says. “My father was a butcher. One of his clients was a German soldier who stayed on in Japan after World War I to launch a sausage shop in Meguro, Tokyo. Ever curious about food, my father slowly gained his trust and eventually learned all the ins and outs of the curing process from him. Today, as then, we use only salt, sugar, and a small bit of saltpeter, for sterilization.”

In Jiro Yajima's hams the different muscles can be seen clearly, as no artificial extenders or fillers are used.

(photo right) Alpensalz rock salt is used to draw out the meat's natural umami. 
(photo left) Everything except the grinding of pork for wiener sausages is done by hand.

(photo right) Leg shanks are smoke-cured for ham hocks.
(photo left) Whole hams rest in a bath for boiling.

The meat for wiener sausages is salt-cured for 7 to 10 days. 

(photo right)  At the factory shop, a soup combo with a hearty ham sandwich or hotdog  is served. 
(photo left) The corned beef made with Wagyu is along-selling favorite.

Jiro Yajima

HamKoubou Jiro
5-2-26 Takata, Chigasaki, Kanagawa


(The Cuisine Magazine / April 2016)