“Soy sauce is not made by people. It is made by microorganisms. Our job is to make the environment for these microorganisms.”
200年もの醸造会社として歴史を持つ八木澤商店。その歴史には、長年地域に関わり続けてきた熱い想いと、震災を乗り越えるため苦労したつらい過去が刻まれていました。 そこに訪れたのが、タイのデザイン会社 be>our>friend からの3名、Mali, Fern, そしてPomm。彼らにとって、日本の醸造文化にこれほど触れることは初めてでした。
Yagisawa Shoten was founded 200 years ago, and is known for its soy sauce and miso. Throughout the years, it has dedicated itself to contributing to the local community, and has also undergone the devastating consequences of the tsunami, which has washed away its brewery. During this program, three designers from the Thai design firm “be>our>friend” – Mali, Fern, and Pomm – visited Mr. Michihiro Kono, the president of Yagisawa Shoten, and experienced the brewing culture of Japan.
People in other countries are not very well aware of the differences in soy sauce. However, as the three Thai designers tasted the different products, they realized immediately that the flavor and aroma of the Yagisawa Shoten soy sauce were clearly outstanding.
The product that especially caught their attention was the “Miracle Shoyu”. This soy sauce is produced by microorganisms specific to the brewery at Yagisawa Shoten. However, this soy sauce was once thought to have been lost forever, as the tsunami took away the brewery, and consequently the microorganisms along with it. However, the soy sauce was miraculously brought back to life, thanks to a sample of the microorganisms that was kept by a research team.
研修期間では、醤油の製造工程を間近に見るため、実際に工場に入りました。 また、デザイナー達は河野社長のミーティングにも同席し、八木澤商店がどのような地域活動を行っているか見学しました。この間、Mali, Fern, そして Pomm の3名は徐々にキーワードを集め、コンセプトデザインを作り上げていきました。
During their training period, Mali, Fern and Pomm were able to see the actual manufacturing process in the factory. They were also allowed to sit in on Mr. Kono’s meetings, and developed an understanding on the local activities Yagisawa Shoten commits itself to. As they deepened their knowledge on Yagisawa Shoten and the brewing culture, the three designers gathered key words to develop the concept design.
“Mr. Kono, what is soy sauce to you?”
“Something spiritual, like a myth.”
This answer by Mr. Kono led the three Thai designers to a communication design that represents the spiritual sense of Yagisawa Shoten’s soy sauce. This design was a proposal to Mr. Kono for his booth at a food fair to be held in France in February.
What they came up with was a proposal worth 76 slides, ranging from the brand personality and visuals to art installation. The extensive design was a reflection of the inspiration they had received from Mr. Kono and the staff at Yagisawa Shoten.
「こんなにも地域コミュニティのために動いている河野社長の想いに感動した。このような人のためなら何としてでも力になりたい。」 最終日、Maliはそのように話していました。 初めて東北を訪れて1週間余しか経っていないのにも関わらず、言語の壁も超え、そのように人の心を動かす河野社長の力に魅せられました。 地元のために生きる。自然とともに生きる。そして前向きに生きる。 東北に根付くこの精神が、奇跡を生み続けているのかもしれません。
On the final day, Mali gave her comment on her experiences at Tohoku. “I was inspired by Mr. Kono’s passion to contribute to the local community. We hope to support people like him through our design – people who are kind-hearted and dedicate themselves to society.” Despite it being the first time to visit Tohoku, and despite it only being one week since their arrival, the Thai designers were already greatly moved by Mr. Kono’s passion. Living with the local community, with nature, and with a positive mind. This spirit of Tohoku may be the reason why miracles happen in this region.
Report:Mai Iida ( 飯田麻衣 )