Yamamoto Yasuo (age 48), a 5th-generation soy sauce producer on Shodoshima Island in western Japan, started crafting wooden barrels himself. This was to preserve the traditional wooden barrel brewing method of soy sauce for the next generation. The body and flavor of soy sauce are imbued by microorganisms that inhabit the wooden barrels and breweries. However, due to industrialization, wooden barrel craftspeople have disappeared and usable wooden barrels could be lost in a few decades. Mr. Yamamoto started to reach out to fellow soy sauce brewers across Japan to encourage them to use his wooden barrels. "My job is not to make soy sauce. It is to connect our generation with the next. My ancestors have done the same." We'll take a close look at the Yamamoto and his unique way of having dual professions of crafting wooden barrels and brewing soy sauce.
Wooden barrels have been the foundation of brewing soy sauce, miso and sake, the 3 basic seasonings of Washoku (Japanese cuisine).
Sawing a piece of cedar. Even a 0.1mm deviation can cause leaking in the barrels.
Over 100 varieties of microorganisms that live on the barrels accelerate fermentation and bring about the full body and flavor of soy sauce.
Processing 'madake' bamboo to create bamboo hoops.