Hello, this is Yukimi from MISOVATION staff.
MISOVATION uses miso from miso breweries all over Japan on a monthly basis. ” is issued as
In the past, it was enclosed when the product was shipped, but from this month we will introduce it in MISO JOURNAL.
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MISOTIMES digs deep into miso breweries all over Japan. This time, we interviewed Mr. Atsushi Kato, the 7th generation owner of Kato Heitaro Shoten, the manufacturer of the "Kanagawa Blend" used in this month's "ODAWARA".
MISOVATION "Please tell us about Kato Heitaro Shoten."
Mr. Kato: “Kato Heitaro Shoten was founded in 1850 (Kaei 3). It is the only miso brewery in the Seisho district. Using carefully selected domestic raw materials and underground water from the Hakone mountain range, we make miso using a method that has hardly changed since our founding. Currently, we mainly use stainless steel tanks, but we have always used wooden barrels.It takes a lot of time and effort to maintain the miso, but it is indispensable for maintaining the taste of Kato Heitaro Shoten's miso. ”
MISOVATION "I see you still cherish the old-fashioned manufacturing method. Isn't the 'Kanagawa blend' that you use for this product a great miso?"
Mr. Kato: "It's a very luxurious miso that uses ingredients from Kanagawa Prefecture, such as 'Tsukui native soybeans', which are difficult to obtain and are called phantom soybeans, and the mineral-rich high-grade salt 'Umisei Arashio' for the salt. Actually, this is the first miso that I have developed since I took over the family business, and it is a miso that I am very fond of.”
MISOVATION "I heard that you were an office worker before taking over the family business. What kind of career did you follow?"
Mr. Kato "After graduating from Hosei University's engineering department, I worked as a system engineer at a system company as a new graduate. I was in charge of developing and maintaining applications for securities companies. It was hard.”
MISOVATION: It's a pretty hard job (laughs). Did you originally have the intention of taking over the family business?
Mr. Kato: “Since I was young, I had a strong desire to get married, so I felt that taking over a company that has been in the red for decades would cause trouble for my future family, so I actually didn’t want to take over. However, my wife also asked me if I would like to take over the business.In addition, I gained confidence by gaining a little understanding of society, and the change in values made me afraid of destroying the family business.
MISOVATION "Kato Heitaro Shoten's miso comes in stylish packaging, and I get the impression that they are trying new ways to present and sell their products. Is there anything you are conscious of?"
Mr. Kato: "It's about doing what needs to be done properly" according to the current times. It hasn't changed in 10 years.It's been the norm in the industry for miso to never change its packaging.However, I think we should change our packaging to keep up with the times.We have to change our old-fashioned image. Of course, I have also felt the difficulty of changing what I have done so far.There was also resistance from veteran employees, and I felt that even my father was my enemy.There are many people who are negative about changing.On top of that, As the 7th generation, I have been conscious of whether I can stick through it and finish it.”
MISOVATION “It must be very difficult to keep traditions alive while changing them to suit the current times. I learned a lot. Thank you very much!”
What did you think?
From now on, MISOVATION will continue to convey to everyone the thoughts, commitments, and charms of miso making.
See you next time♪