For centuries, soy sauce has been an indispensable ingredient in Japanese and Chinese cuisines - but these days, the taste of soy sauce goes beyond Japanese and Chinese food. This versatile seasoning brewed from soybeans, wheat and salt is now considered essential in the health-conscious Western kitchen, and today we add soy sauce to just about everything, from hamburgers to stews, from salads to desserts.
The ancient origins of soy sauce are shrouded in the mists of Asia's culinary history; yet for many, today's soy sauce brings only one name to mind: Kikkoman. The history of Kikkoman and its famous soy sauce began when the Mogi and Takanashi families began soy sauce production along the Edo River in Noda, a small city located not far from Tokyo. For more than three centuries, the company formed by these families has created delicious, all-natural seasonings that have won prizes worldwide, including honours at the 1873 Vienna World's Fair and the distinctive position as the official sauces for the Japanese imperial household for many years.
Yet the name Kikkoman means more than just superior soy sauce. According to Japanese folklore, the tortoise lives for 10,000 years and thus is a symbol of longevity -- what every company hopes for. Therefore, kikko, which means tortoise shell in Japanese, and man, meaning 10,000, were chosen first as the trademark for the Mogi's best soy sauce and later as the company name.
The hexagonal logo found on Kikkoman products represents a tortoise shell with the Chinese character for 10,000 inscribed inside. More than 250 years after their ancestors began soy sauce production, in 1917 the Mogi and Takanashi families incorporated as Noda Shoyu Co., Ltd. The company's name was changed to Kikkoman Shoyu Co., Ltd. in 1964, and again in 1980 to Kikkoman Corporation.
Although soy sauce is still produced in Noda and remains Kikkoman's leading product, Kikkoman today represents much more than soy sauce and has expanded far beyond the banks of the Edo River. Kikkoman Soy Sauce is now produced in the United States, Europe, Singapore, Taiwan and China as well.
In addition to our various plants, Kikkoman also has many subsidiaries and affiliates. The diversification of products ranges from pharmaceutical products to Oriental foodstuffs. The Kikkoman Group includes affiliations with Del Monte, Manns Wine Co., Ltd. and JFC International Inc. JFC International Inc., which joined the Kikkoman Group in 1969, represents more than 8,500 Oriental foodstuffs.
Kikkoman believes in "Flavours That Bring People Together," and the company is devoted to promoting international cultural exchange. Through involvement in educational and student exchange programs such as Youth For Understanding for high school students, and AIESEC, a work/study program for university students, Kikkoman is committed to enhancing international understanding. In addition, Kikkoman offers hands-on cooking classes for both Japanese and foreign residents in Japan that feature traditional Japanese and international cuisines.