Miso Soup and Its History, the most popular soup in Japan

Miso Soup, the most popular soup in Japan

marukome miso(1)
marukome miso(2)
  1. Marukome’s Miso


  1. Enjoyed by Japanese from time immemorial, miso has been a staple of the Japanese diet. Miso comes in a wide variety such as Shiro-miso (white miso), Aka-miso (red miso) and so on. A major manufacturer of miso, Marukome developed the world’s first miso with soup stock.  So, let’s take a look at the history of the development of this epoch-making product.


  1. Breakfast!


  1. Thanks to Marukome, miso soup can be made quickly.


  1. Marukome

From ancient times, Shinshu Nagano has harvested high-quality rice and soy beans and produced miso and soy sauce.  In 1854, Tamiemon Aoki also began making miso.


  1. At the beginning of the Meiji era (1868 to 1912), Tamiemon’s son Sataro Aoki (first generation) became interested in the business and founded Sataro Aoki’s Store.


  1. After WW II

Discharged from the military, Sataro Aoki (third generation) established Aoki Miso and Soy Sauce Co., Ltd.  The high-quality Shinshu-miso became popular.


  1. For our company’s brand, we’ll use Marukome from the round shape (maru) of soy beans plus rice (kome), both of which we use as raw materials.


  1. At that time, miso was shipped packed in barrels. However, keeping the barrels used for delivery always clean and serviceable was troublesome.


It would be more efficient if we shipped the miso packed in cardboard boxes and had the retailers transfer the miso into containers that we provided.


  1. This system was extremely well received by the retailers and the company’s share expanded.


  1. We’ll use TV commercials to further increase the awareness of Marukome Miso throughout the country.


  1. If we make children aware of Marukome Miso, they’ll surely buy our miso even when they become adults.


  1. Let’s create a character that will appeal to children.


  1. Marukome-kun (Marukome boy) thus made his appearance.


Current Marukome-kun



When commercial television started, Marukome quickly began showing animated commercials, which enjoyed popularity.  After a while, an actual child appeared in the role of Marukome-kun.


  1. We won’t be able to keep up if we continue packing the miso by hand.


Couldn’t we automate the operation?


  1. When automation enabled bulk packing of miso into bags, distribution in the form of cardboard boxes was also greatly changed.


  1. 1967

The company name was changed to Marukome Miso.


  1. What?

This letter says our miso doesn’t taste good.


Around 1979


  1. It’s a serious problem. What does it mean?


Upon further inquiry, people seem to be using the miso without preparing soup stock.


  1. Soup stock?


A customer questionnaire indicates that lots of people feel that having to make soup stock is a nuisance.


Also, lots of people nowadays don’t know how to make soup stock.


  1. Couldn’t we make miso that contained soup stock?


  1. When soup stock is added to miso, the enzymes in the miso break down the soup stock.


  1. To revive the taste of the soup stock, the miso can be heated to stop the enzyme activity. However, the miso has to be cooled immediately.


  1. If the miso cannot be cooled quickly, the flavor will deteriorate.


  1. Dry ice can be used to cool the miso effectively. However, it will take time and money.


We need a new cooling device.


  1. 1982

A rapid heating and cooling device that solved the problems was developed.  The first Miso with Soup Stock “Ryotei no Aji (high-class Japanese restaurant taste)” went on sale.


  1. A square-shaped container that could easily fit in the refrigerator was adopted. In addition, the container was made from a material impervious to enzymes. The miso could thus be kept for a long period of time without the flavor deteriorating.


  1. Now I can make miso soup like that served in a ryotei easily at home.


  1. “Ryotei no Aji” was a big hit. Marukome Miso became a major name at a stroke.


  1. In response to this, most miso products began to come with soup stock. Marukome Miso took the top spot in the industry. The company was renamed Marukome.


  1. 2004

The Miasa Kogen warehouse in Nagano Prefecture was completed.  Smooth, naturally brewed miso that was allowed to mature over a long period of time was produced at this warehouse.  This miso was mainly sold via mail order.


  1. I wish this delicious miso could be used more easily.


  1. Couldn’t we liquefy this miso by using the technology of miso servers for business use?


  1. “Tebayaku Oishii Ninen Miso (quick and tasty matured miso)” developed using this technology and sold in a plastic bottle became a sensation.


  1. This is convenient!


I wonder if I could buy it at a general store.


  1. 2009

The liquid miso was newly put on sale as “Eki Miso” (liquid miso).


It’s easy to use.


The popularity of this epoch-making Eki Miso exceeded all expectations.  More than a million bottles were sold within the first three months.


  1. It seems everybody can easily make miso soup with Eki Miso.


I’ll leave it up to you.

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