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Meet the Men Keeping Small Businesses Alive in Japan!

While Japanese cuisine is famous worldwide, traditional elements such as cultural practices, techniques, locally sourced produce, and ingredients have begun to fade. So, these four men came together to create a marketplace in Japan's busiest airport that celebrates local businesses. In an age of convenient "simple and instant" consumption, these four men have dedicated themselves to preserving these traditional elements that make Japanese cuisine so unique. Through their "Japan Tero World" marketplace in Haneda airport they are helping showcase and educate visitors about traditional practices and small businesses all throughout Japan!

Tadayuki Iwasaki-san / Head of the Product Department / Food General Buyer

Meet Tadayuki Iwasaki-san, during his time in university he studied nutrition and food where discovered a passion for the rich culture attached to Japanese cuisine and a desire to share that culture with the world. He currently visits local sites and the explores the production areas of primary producers nationwide. Here, he develops an understanding of the farmland, local culture and explores ways to collaborate with the small businesses and producers in a way that celebrates the local area and its traditions.

Masaki Tanii-san / F&F System Co, Managing Director

Masaki Tanii-san is dedicated to delivering fresh produce and collaborating with small farmers all across Japan. As the Managing Director for F&F Systems Co, he dedicates his time to ensuring a natural means of produce production, making sure that he delivers fresh and safe produce to his customers.

In order to support local businesses and farmers, Tanii-san only sources raw materials domestically, and if domestic options are not available, F&F outsources to organic overseas producers. The agricultural products F&F search for, are grown without using chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

When it comes to Mr. Tanii's relationship with farmers, he skips the middleman and contracts directly with local farmers. This ensures that the farmers are supported directly by F&F and that the flavor of the produce remains as fresh as possible and that the farmer's traditional farming practices are maintained.

Takamasa Oono-san / President of Daiju Co.

When it comes to finding a way to adapt in a world of fast-paced and convenience oriented consumerism, there is no better expert than Oono-san. Oono-san runs several "Oonoya" supermarkets that are committed to delivering healthy options directly to consumers. Unlike other supermarkets, in addition to prioritizing convenience, Oonoya prioritizes safety, freshness, health and flavor. He follows a philosophy known as "Rakushoku," which directly translated means "easy meal." This implies that the customer will have no concerns regarding the safety, freshness and convenience of their meal. Through this philosophy Oono-san was motivated to help create the the "Japan Tero World" marketplace.

Yohichi Yugeta-san / Fourth Generation Soy Sauce Maker / Yugeta Shoyu

As a fourth generation Japanese soy sauce maker at Yugeta Shoyu, Yohichi Yugeta is a preservationist of tradition. For over a hundred years they have been crafting their traditional soy sauce using a process maintained over generations. Here at Ohako, we got to see firsthand how they carefully craft their soy sauce, utilizing wooden barrels called "kioke."

These giant kioke barrels are made using local Nishikawa cedar. Sourcing the lumber locally allows for the mold used in soy sauce to grow more easily. This is because the mold and cedar come from the same climate. Yugeta Shoyu has been making soy sauce since their inception, with some of their barrels in use dating all the way back to the Meiji Period (1868 - 1912).

Upper view of the giant "kioke" barrels

Until the Edo period, foundational seasonings for Japanese cuisine such as soy sauce, miso, vinegar, mirin, and sake were made in these "kioke" wooden barrels. However, in today's modern age, in order to cut costs, barrel-brewed seasonings have declined significantly. Within the soy sauce industry less than one percent of manufactures use kioke barrels, making Yugeta Shoyu one of the last remaining kioke soy sauce producers.

Ohako's ShotasPOV and Yugeta-san stirring the fermenting Soy Sauce. This stage in the soy sauce making process has little involvement from the craftsmen of Yugeta Shoyu. The microorganisms take care of the "soy sauce making" here!

Natural Ingredients

Other Soy Sauce manufacturers outsource ingredients from other countries. However, Yugeta Shoyu sources all of their ingredients locally using rare produce such as organic JAS authorization soybeans and wheat which only account for around 0.018% and 0.009% of Japan's domestic consumption. All flavors within their soy sauce are natural, meaning no extra chemical seasonings, such as amino acids, are added.

Perhaps the most simple, yet most shocking factor about Yugeta Shoyu's dedication to maintaining tradition is the fact that even the water, yes the water, is drawn from an 80m deep well from the Chichubu Mountain range. Even in the age of fast paced convenience, their dedication to tradition and authenticity is incredibly admirable.

Come Learn About Traditional Culinary Practices at Japan Tero World!

 Located on the second floor of Haneda Airport Terminal one, come learn more about what these four incredible men are doing at Japan Tero World and taste the authenticity of traditional Japanese craftsmanship firsthand! There are over thirty unique small business showcased here, each with their own history and traditions! The marketplace is open from September 2023 to January 2024.


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