History of Soy Sauce (160 CE to 2012)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: 978-1-928914-44-0

Publication Date: 2012 May 31

Number of References in Bibliography: 8554

Earliest Reference: 160 CE

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Soy sauce: Worldwide, soy sauce is the most widely used and best known product made from the soybean. It is the defining flavor for many of the cuisines of East and Southeast Asia. Soy sauce arrived in many Western countries before the soybean, and before it was generally understood that the soybean was one of its main ingredients. We believe that soy sauce has the most interesting history of the many different soyfood products.

Etymology of soy sauce in English:
      The words “soy,” “soya” and “soja,” and the term “soy sauce” came into English from the Japanese word shōyu via the Dutch. Thus, the name of the soybean was derived from the name of the sauce made from it.
      The first European language document in which the words for “soy” or “soy sauce” appeared was Dutch. Why?
      After 1633 (when the Portuguese were expelled from Japan by the Tokugawa shogunate), the Dutch were the only Europeans allowed to trade with Japan. Their trading activities, conducted by the Dutch East India Company (VOC), were limited to a tiny artificial island named Deshima in Nagasaki harbor in the south of Japan, far from the capital at Edo (today’s Tokyo). Among the goods the VOC exported from Japan were shoyu (soy sauce), miso, and saké.
      At first they exported these goods to VOC trading posts in Asia, but in 1737 they began exporting small amounts (via Batavia, today’s Jakarta, Indonesia) to Amsterdam, Netherlands, where they were auctioned to international merchants.
      All of the early Dutch documents that mention shoyu are handwritten letters, the originals of which are located at the VOC archives at The Hague, Netherlands. Soyinfo Center hired a Dutch researcher (Herman Ketting, who could read handwritten Dutch documents from the 1600s) to find and copy as many of these early documents as possible. We helped him to get on the trail by sending him 6-8 early citations from books on the history of Kikkoman.
      The Dutch merchants who exported shoyu in kegs from Japan did their best to spell it as it sounded – phonetically. Here is how that spelling evolved – based on documents now at Soyinfo Center; each appears in this book:
      1647 Oct. – soije
      1651 June – sooje
      1652 July – soij
      1652 Aug. – soije
      1652 Oct. – soije
      1652 Oct. – zoije
      1654 July – soijo
      1655 Aug. – soija
      1656 March – soeije
      1657 Aug. – soija
      1659 Aug. – soija
      1660 June – soije
      1665 Feb. – soija
      1669 Feb. – soija
      1669 Feb. – soija
      1674 Nov. – sooij
      1675 Nov. – soija
      1676 March – soija
      1676 June – soija
      1678 Nov. – soija
      1680 June – soije
      The link from Dutch to English and other European languages was probably forged on the docks and in the warehouses of Amsterdam, as British and other European merchants bid at auction for a liquid seasoning (shoyu) made in Japan with a variety of exotic but similar Dutch names.
      These merchants gave their new sauce a name which they hoped would catch on in their own language and also help it to sell. Then they started to distribute it widely; by Dec. 1750 it had reached the North America – arriving first in New York Harbor bearing the name “India Soy.”
Here are the earliest known names for soy sauce in various Western languages other than Dutch:
      1679 – saio (John Locke, in his journal).
      1688 – Soy (William Dampier, in his log). This was the spelling that caught on in English. For the next 250 years, soy sauce was usually called “soy” in English.
      1696 – Souy (John Ovington).
      1727 – Soeju (Engelbert Kaempfer; he lived in Japan on Deshima from Sept. 1690 to Nov. 1692).
      1744 – Chinese Soy, Japan Soy (White’s China and Flint-Glass Warehouse, London, ad).
      1750 – Indian Soy (Rochell & Sharp, ad, New York City).
      1752 – Japan Soy (Berto Valle, ad, London).
      1754 – India Soy (John Breues, merchant from Perth, probably Scotland).
      1754 – soy of Japan (Society of Gentlemen, London).
      1756 – Joppa soy (G. Pastorini, ad, London).
      1769 – Soye, East-India Soye (William Stork, North America).
      1795 – soy-sauce (C.P. Thunberg).
      1803 – soy sauce (Susannah Carter).
      1804 – Soy, Sooju (James Mease, Pennsylvania).
      1810 – Chinese Soy, Japanese Soy (James Mease, Pennsylvania).
      1832 – Canton Soy (John Remond, ad, Massachusetts).
      1866 – Shoyu, Sh’taji (James C. Hepburn, Japanese and English Dictionary).
      1753 – la Sauce Sooju (Histoire générale des voyages… Vol. 11).
      1765 – le soui, le soi (Denis Diderot).
      1790 – la sauce soja (Jean Baptiste de Lamarck).
      1796 – sauce de soya (Karl Peter Thunberg).
      1785 – Sooju, Soy (Charles Bryant).
      1801 – Indianische Soya (Philipp A. Nemnich).
      1822 – Soya, indische Soya (Joseph Koenig).
      1907 – Il shoyu (Ruata & Testoni).
      1912 – Shoyu (L. Settimj).
      1919 – shoyu (G.E. Mattei).
      1705 – Soia (Samuel Dale).
      1712 – Sooju (Engelbert Kaempfer; he lived in Japan from Sept. 1690 to Nov. 1692)
      1730 – Soia (Joseph P. de Tournefort).
      1603 –Xōyu (Compania de Iesus; earliest Jesuit dictionary of Japanese).
      1882 – soiia, soja, ketjap (Gustavo d’Utra, Brazil).
      1938 – Shoju, Soyu, Shiyu, tao-yu (Abreu Velho, Angola).
      1910 – Salsa de la haba soya (C.F. Langworthy; translation of his American USDA bulletin).
      1912 – choyou, salsa de soja (Adolfo C. Tonellier, in Argentina).
Brief chronology of soy sauce.
160 CE – Simin Yueling [Monthly Ordinances for the Four Classes of People], by Cui Shi mentions qingjiang, the earliest known ancestor of today’s soy sauce, made in China from jiang.
544 CEQimin Yaoshu [Important Arts for the People’s Welfare], by Jia Sixie (of China), the world’s earliest encyclopedia of agriculture, gives the earliest known description of how to make soy sauce.
1568 Oct. 25 – An entry in the unpublished Tamon-in Diary (Tamon-in Nikki) mentions taking shoyu to a Buddhist monk. This appears to be the first time the contemporary characters for shoyu are used in Japan (Iino 2001, p. 23). This diary was kept at a monastery in Nara City, Japan.
1596 – Soy sauce in China starts to be made with a significant proportion of wheat or barley (Bencao Gangmu). This book is the first to describe in detail how to make soy sauce on a home scale. However before the 20th century, most soy sauce made in China contained little or not wheat or barley.
1597 – The contemporary characters for shoyu appear in the Ekirinbon Setsuyōshū, an early Japanese dictionary written by a Japanese Buddhist priest and published during the Muromachi period (Yokotsuka 1985, p. 205).
1603 – The word “shoyu” (spelled Xōyou) and the word “tamari” are first mentioned in a Western language (Portuguese) in Vocabulario da Lingoa de Iapam, a Jesuit dictionary published in Nagasaki, Japan.
1630 to 1704 – At some time during this period the earliest ancestor of the company that later became Noda Shoyu Co., then Kikkoman Corporation, began making soy sauce in Noda, Japan. Fruin (1983, p. 1, 16, 18) gives the date as 1661. On 7 Jan. 1930 when Dorsett and Morse, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, visited the Noda Shoyu Co., Ltd. in Noda, they wrote: “According to their literature, Kikkoman Shoyu was first brewed by Mr. Saheiji Mogi, in the second year of Meiwa (corresponding to the year 1704) in Noda-Machi, Japan” (Log of the Dorsett –Morse Expedition, p. 3465).
1647 Oct. 16 – Japanese soy sauce (shoyu) is now being exported from Nagasaki, Japan, by the Dutch East India Company. In the earliest known handwritten letter (in Dutch) it is called soije (Int Comptoir Nagasaekij).
1679 – The famous English philosopher John Locke writes in his journal (not published until 1829): “Mango and saio [shoyu] are two sorts of sauces brought from the East Indies.”
1680 – Indonesian-style soy sauce is first mentioned in the West. “And now we have a new Sawce called Catch-up from East-India, sold at a Guiney [Guinea] a bottle” (Petyt 1680, p. 285). Ketjap is the word for soy sauce in the Dutch East Indies (today’s Indonesia). Here begins the long and tangled confusion between soy sauce and ketchup. The Indonesian word ketjap / kecap is probably derived from ke chiap / kicap / kitjap which originated in the Southern Min / Hokkien Chinese sub-dialect of Zhangzhou / Chiang-chiu / Changchew.
1682 – “I do not doubt but you London Gentlemen, do value it [chocolate] above all your Anchoves,… your Soys, your Ketchups and Caveares [Caviars] (Chamberlayne 1682, p. 18). “Soys” refers to soy sauces and “Ketchups” probably refers to soy sauces from the Dutch East Indies (today’s Indonesia).
1688 – Dampier, while traveling in Tonquin (today’s North Vietnam) writes in his log (not published until 1705): “The Nuke-Mum [nuoc-mam, fish sauce]… is also very savory, and used as a good sauce for Fowls, not only by the Natives, but also by the Europeans who esteem it equal with Soy [sauce].” This is the earliest English-language document seen that uses the word “Soy” (regardless of capitalization) to refer to soy sauce.
1690 – “Catchup, a high East-India Sauce” – says A New Dictionary of the Terms Ancient and Modern of the Canting Crew (printed in London).
1696 – John Ovington, in A Voyage to Suratt, in the Year, 1689…, writes, in the chapter on “The English Factory at Surat” [British India], at the section on “Several Sorts of Indian Dishes”: “Bambou and Mangoe Achar [pickle], Souy the choicest of all Sawces are always ready to whet the Appetite.” This is the earliest English-language document see that uses the word “Souy” to refer to soy sauce.
1705 – Dale, writing in Latin in a book on pharmacology, mentions soy sauce, which he calls “Soia.” The bean from which soy sauce is made is also used to make a condiment called Ketchup.
1708 – It is reported: that “Soia of which Ketchup is made, is the Seed of an Indian Phaseolus (Philosophical Transactions, 1808, p, 2266).
1711Soy comes in Tubs from Jappan [Japan], and the best Ketchup from Tonqueen [the northern part of today’s Vietnam]; yet good of both sorts, are made and sold very cheap in China (Account of the trade in India, by Lockyer, p. 128-29).
1712 – An ad in the Daily Courant (London, Dec. 30 p. [2]) states: “There is lately brought over from the East Indies [probably today’s Indonesia] a great parcel of Soy [sauce], commonly call’d Ketchup,…”
1725 – Mrs. Hay (p. 18) describes the earliest known attempt to make Indonesian-style soy sauce (“To make a Ketchup for Sauce”) using walnuts as the main ingredient and without understanding that real soy sauce is made using soybeans.
1728 – “Mushroom-Ketchup” is first mentioned, as Westerners try to make soy sauce using Western ingredients and without understanding that real soy sauce is made using soybeans (Bradley 1728, p. 140). The transformation from “ketjap” (Indonesian soy sauce) to ketchup” began at about this time. Oyster ketchup was first mentioned in 1777 (by Charlotte Mason) and Tomato Ketchup in 1800 (by James Morton).
1737 – The first soy sauce (made in Japan) is exported to the Netherlands by the Dutch East India Co. (VOC). During the 24 years from 1737 to 1760, approximately 46,000 liters of soy sauce were exported as “official trade freight” from Deshima,  Nagasaki, Japan, to the VOC’s Batavia headquarters, and about 15,600 liters (about one-third of the total) were then shipped from Batavia to the Netherlands (Yamawaki 1992).
1739 – An Officer from the Custom-house while inspecting a ship “lately arriv’d from China, had the misfortune to break a Jar of Soy of considerable Value… Soy is a rich Ketchup, the best made in India, and gives the highest Gust of any sauce in the World” (General Evening Post {London}, Aug. 14, p. [2], col. 3). Note: The word “India” may refer here to the Dutch East Indies, today’s Indonesia.
1747The Art of Cookery,… by Mrs. Hannah Glasse of England, contains a recipe for homemade ketchup (p. 156) in which mushrooms are the main ingredient. She concludes: If “you put to a Pint of this Ketchup a Pint of Mum, it will taste like foreign Ketchup.”
1750 Dec. 17 – Soy sauce, called “Indian Soy,” the first soy product in the British colonies of North America, arrives in New York City. Sold in pint bottles, it is announced in a classified ad by Rochell & Sharp in the New-York Gazette Revived in the Weekly Post-Boy (p. 3). It was probably sold to affluent retail customers for home use. By 1776 soy sauce is being sold in port cities up and down the East Coast of British North America. But much of it is made in Savannah, Georgia, by Samuel Bowen.
      Here is a list of the earliest known dates that soy sauce was sold in various British colonies in North America
      1768 – Soy made by Samuel Bowen sold in Savannah, Georgia at the Collector’s. The advertised price on 30 Nov. 1768 is 3 shillings 6 pence per bottle or 1 pound 16 shillings for 12 bottles (a 15% saving).
      1770 – Soy made by Samuel Bowen sold in Newport, Rhode Island.
      1773 – Bowen’s Patent Soy sold in Charleston, South Carolina.
      1774 – India Soy sold by N. and W. Coffin in Boston, Massachusetts.
      1774 – Bowen’s Patent Soy sold in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
      1776 July 4 – Declaration of Independence by the British Colonies of North America.
      1778 – India Soy sold in Burlington, New Jersey.
      1785 – India soy sold in Baltimore, Maryland.
      1786 – Japan soy sold in New Haven, Connecticut.
      1812 – East India Soy sold in Portland, Maine.
      1818 – Japan soy sold in Alexandria, Virginia.
      1837 – Canton Soy sold in Keene, New Hampshire.
1751 – Soy sauce is being imported by England from China – but not from Japan (A General History of the Several Nations of the World,… p. 343).
1752 Nov. 6 – "Catchup" (probably soy sauce) is now being sold in the port city of New York (Smith, New York Gazette).
1766 May – Samuel Bowen, a British sailor, starts to sell Bowen’s Patent Soy which he has made on his plantation at Thunderbolt, a few miles east of Savannah, Colony of Georgia. He also starts to export this soy sauce to England. Later in 1766 he is awarded a gold medal for his sauce and other Chinese products by the Society of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce in London. He applied for a British patent on 6 June 1767 and was issued the patent on July 1 of that year (Georgia Gazette, 1766, May 28, p. 1. Hymowitz & Harlan 1983, p. 374-78).
      In 1768 he starts to sell his soy sauce in port cities along the east coast of British North America.
1768 – Soy cruets, special bottles for serving soy sauce at table, are now made in England (Bath & Bristol Chronicle).
1770 Nov. 26 – An ad by Richard Curson in the New-York Gazette  is the earliest document seen in which both soy sauce and catchup appear in the same shipment and ad in the British colonies of North America. This “catchup” was probably Indonesian-style soy sauce.
1774 Feb. – Samuel Bowen exports 3 dozen bottles of soy sauce from Savannah, Georgia (Georgia Gazette, Feb. 9. p. 2, col. 2).
1783 – Quin’s Sauce is now being made commercially in England; soy sauce was long a major ingredient (Dorsey 1783, Ad).
1795 – Charles Peter Thunberg (in his Travels in Europe, Africa, and Asia made between the years 1770 and 1795, Vol. IV, p. 107) states: “The traffic in Soy, on the other hand, is more considerable [than that of tea], and as the tea produced in this country is reckoned inferior to that of China, so the soy is much better than that which is brewed in China. For this reason, soy is not only exported to Batavia [today’s Jakarta], in the wooden barrels in which it is made, but likewise sold from thence to Europe and to every part of the East Indies.”
1804 – San Jirushi Corp. starts to make tamari shoyu in Kuwana, Japan.
1805 – “33. Dolichos Soja… The Soja [soy sauce] of the Japanese, which is preferred to the Kitjap of the Chinese, is prepared from these seeds and is used in almost all of their dishes, instead of common salt (Miller 1807).
1813 – It is first stated that soy sauce can be shaken in a glass to determine its quality. “Soy should be chosen of a good flavour, not too salt or too sweet, of a good thick consistence, of a dark brown colour and clear; when shaken in a glass, it should leave a coat on the surface, of a bright yellowish brown colour; if it does not, it is of an inferior kind, and should be rejected” (Oriental Commerce, by William Milburn, p. 519-20).
1821 – “There is a joke amongst seamen, that soy is made from beetles or cockroaches.” This incorrect information appears in 76 subsequent documents. Yet this 1821 American encyclopedia entry begins: “Sooju, or Soy [sauce], is a dark coloured sauce, which is prepared from the seeds of the Chinese plant Dolichos soja” (Willich 1821, Vol. 3, p. 264-65).
1823 – “Soy” and “Indian catsup” are the same, and both are made from the “dolichos or Soy bean” (Vignoles, p. 104).
1830 – Harvey’s Sauce is now being made commercially in England using soy sauce as an ingredient (Dolby 1830).
1835 – “Sooja is the name of a Japanese sauce, prepared from the seeds of a species of Dolichos now made into a distinct genus and called Soja hispida. The Soja of Japan is preferred as a sauce to the Kitjap of China; both, however, are imported into England in large quantities, and are here known as Soy” (Burnett 1835, Vol. 1, p. 666).
1837 – Worcestershire sauce starts to be made at 68 Broad St., Worcester, England by Lea and Perrins (Keogh 1997). Soy sauce was the major secret ingredient in Worcestershire sauce.
1838 – The earliest known recipe for “Tomato soy” appears in The Virginia Housewife, by Mary Randolph. Surprisingly, neither “soy” nor “soy sauce” are even mentioned in the body of the recipe. This is an early example of the confusion about the difference between soy sauce and ketjap / ketchup. The term “Tomato soy” might be called an “intermediate form” between soy sauce and ketchup.
1843 – Waterston (in his Cyclopaedia of Commerce…, p. 627) states that genuine soy “is imported from Canton but the best is brought from Japan by way of Batavia.”
1873 – Kikkoman brand soy sauce is exhibited at the International Exhibition held in Vienna, Austria, where it is awarded a gold medal (Japan’s Industries… 1910, p. 163-65).
1873 – Concerning the etymology of “ketjap / ketchup”: Chinese-English Dictionary of the Vernacular or Spoken Language of Amoy,… by Carstairs Douglas states (p. 46) that the terms kōe-chap and kê-chiap refer to the “brine or salt of pickled fish.” We (tentatively) believe that these terms were taken by seafaring Chinese to the Dutch East Indies (today’s Indonesia) where, in Malay,  they came to be pronounced ketjap and were applied to Indonesian-style soy sauce. To this day, the name for Indonesian soy sauce is unchanged, although it is now written kecap – but pronounced ke-chup.
      From the 1600s to the late 1800s soy sauce was imported from East Asia to Europe and America bearing two different names: Soy and kechup (also spelled catsup, catchup, ketchup, ketchap, kitjap, etc.).
      See also Schlegel and Cordier (1894, Part III, p. 140-43) who cite Douglas 1873 and conclude: This “is surely the origin of Ketchup, another name for soy” [sauce].
1874 – The first accurate and detailed description of how to make soy sauce on a commercial scale in a European language is given by J.J. Hoffman (in German). While living and teaching in Japan, he is the first Westerner to make a scientific study of the shoyu-making process.
1879 – Saheiji Mogi, of Noda, Japan, registers Kikkoman, his family’s pride and flagship brand of shoyu (Japanese-style soy sauce), as a brand name in California – six years before it is granted the same legal protection in Japan. He is soon exporting small wooden kegs, bound with bamboo hoops (18 liters or 4.76 gallons capacity) of Kikkoman shoyu to California and the Western United States where it is prized by the growing number of Japanese immigrants (Fruin 1983, p. 59-60).
1882 – Earliest document seen that mentions Korean-style soy sauce, which it calls “soy” (Griffis 1882, p. 270).
1889 Dec. 8 – Earliest document seen that mentions “teriyaki” appears in a description of dining in Tokio [Tokyo] in the Detroit Free Press. It states that “… salmon soaked first in soy sauce and then broiled, but eaten cold. This is called teriyaki” (Stearns, p. 16).
1891 – The earliest known manufacturer of shoyu in Hawaii or the United States is started in Honolulu, Oahu, by Jihachi Shimada; the company name and brand name are unknown. The company closed soon after it started (Morita 1915, p. 260).
1893 – Exports of soy sauce from Japan are now significant and increasing. “Soy [sauce]. The total value of the latest export is 41,029 yen, and chiefly exported to Hawaii” (p. 247). Exports of Soy [sauce] from Japan to the United States “rose from 7,862 catties [1 catty weighs 1.33 lb] worth 261 yen in 1887 to 9,744 catties worth 1,146 yen in 1881” (p. 429-30) (Japan. Dep. of Agriculture and Commerce, Bureau of Commerce. General View of Commerce & Industry in the Empire of Japan).
1893 – The earliest English-language document seen that mentions tamari (Japan, Dep. of Agriculture and Commerce. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Agricultural Products, Exhibited in the World’s Columbian Exposition).
1893 – HVP soy sauce is now being made from hydrolyzed vegetable protein by Maggi in Europe (Koenig).
1897 – Yamamori Jozo-sho (Yamamori Brewery) starts to make Yamamori Shoyu (soy sauce) in San Jose, California. It is the first company to make soy sauce in the continental United States.
1905 – Sugita Jozo-sho (Sugita Brewery) is now making Sugita Shoyu in San Jose, California. It is the second company to make soy sauce in the continental United States, and also in San Jose!
1905 – Yamajo Soy Co. (Yamajo Shoyu Seizo-sho) starts to make shoyu in Honolulu, Oahu. Established by Mr. Nobuyuki Yamakami, it is the first successful shoyu manufacturer in Hawaii. By 1909 it was renamed Hawaiian Soy Co. Ltd. (Hawaii Shoyu K.K.).
1908 – Kurt Heppe, in his pocket dictionary of terms used in cookery states (p. 313): “Soy – a ketchup of the Soy bean.”
1910 Sept. – More than half of all soy sauce now exported from Japan is Kikkoman brand shoyu. It has been “chiefly instrumental in making Japanese soy known and appreciated in foreign countries.
      “The ‘Kikkoman’ firm owns at present six soy breweries, with a total of 4,200 hands and eight sets of boilers and steam engines. The yearly output is about 11,800,000 gallons, of which 2,800,000 gallons are exported to foreign countries, the principal destinations being Honolulu, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Tacoma, Denver, Chicago, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, and China ports” (Japan’s Industries… 1910, p. 163-65).
1915 Scientific American Cyclopedia for Formulas, by Albert A. Hopkins states: “Japanese soy is usually preferred to that of China, because it is free from the treacly [molasses-like] flavor which distinguishes the latter.
1915Shiro shoyu (pale or light-colored soy sauce) is first mentioned by Takahashi et al. in Japan.
1918 – Oriental Show-You Co. is started in Detroit, Michigan, by Shinzo Ohki, a Japanese man, who begins by importing shoyu and tea from China.
1920 – Oriental Show-You Co. is now selling “genuine imported Japanese soy sauce” (Chicago Daily Tribune, March 28, p. C13).
1922 – La Choy starts to import fermented soy sauce from China in wooden barrels to use as a seasoning in their Asian food products.
1940-1990s – The term “soy sauce” gradually replaces “soy” as the English-language name for this sauce.
1942 – Showa Shoyu Brewing Co. is founded in Glendale, Arizona, by John Tadano. They make Japanese-style soy sauce to replace imports from Japan cut off by World War II (SoyaScan Interview with Mary Tadano and Michiko Tadano).
1943 Sept. – La Choy Food Products, Inc. and Oriental Show-You Co. are purchased by Beatrice Creamery Co. (Wall Street Journal, Sept. 28, p. 24).
1950 – Earliest known document that mentions hoisin sauce, which it calls (hoy sien jeung – in Cantonese); soy sauce is an important ingredient in this “famous red sauce” which is widely served with Peking roast duck (Feng 1950, p. 32).
1955 – A.E. Staley Co. is now the largest U.S. maker of soy sauce; they make the non-fermented HVP type. “While it is conceded that the Staley product has less bouquet than the long-fermented oriental type, it is estimated that the U.S. production is now larger than the approximately 3 million pounds [about 305,500 gallons or 1,156.4 kiloliters] imported last year from the Orient” (Soybean Digest, Dec. 1955, p. 14-15).
1955 – Bragg Liquid Aminos are now being made in the United States from hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP) without added salt or fermentation (Federal Trade Commission 1955).
1957 – Kikkoman International Inc. is established and is soon rooted in San Francisco. The company focuses on selling their soy sauce to a largely non-Japanese market in the United States (Fruin 1983, p. 274).
1958 – Spray-dried soy sauce is now being made in Japan. Its first use may have been to season instant noodles / ramen (Motoyama 1958).
1960 – Earliest document seen that mentions kecap manis / ketjap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce; Huang 1960).
1961 – Japanese soy sauce makers, which used only whole soybeans before World War II, now use large amounts of defatted soybean meal instead (Hayashi 1961, p. 18).
1964 Oct. – Noda Shoyu Co. is renamed Kikkoman Shoyu Co. Ltd. (Fruin 1983, p. 243).
1965 – Diamond Teriyaki Sauce starts to be made in Honolulu, Hawaii. This is the world’s earliest known commercial teriyaki sauce. It is made from soy sauce, mirin (sweet sake) and a flavor enhancer.
1973 June 16-17 – Kikkoman opens a modern soy sauce plant in Walworth, Wisconsin. This is Kikkoman’s first soy sauce plant in the Western world. The decision to build this plant was made in March 1971 (Times, Walworth, Wisconsin).
1977 – Earliest document seen that mentions inyu, Taiwanese black bean sauce – a type of fermented black bean sauce made from soybean koji (Jan et al. 1977).
1979 March – Dr. Danji Fukushima of Kikkoman first refers to the five different types of Japanese shoyu by name, including saishikomi shoyu and shiro shoyu (J. of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, p. 357-62). Saishikomi (twice-brewed soy sauce) originated in about 1780 and is made mostly in Yamaguchi prefecture, just north of Kyushu, Japan.
1980 Oct. – Kikkoman Shoyu Co. is renamed Kikkoman Corporation (Fruin 1983, p. 243; Kikkoman Annual Report 1995, p. 22).
1983 Dec. – “Introduction of Soybean to North America by Samuel Bowen in 1765,” by T. Hymowitz and J.R. Harlan is published in Economic Botany. This landmark article also documents the following facts: (1) Samuel Bowen was the first person to manufacture soy sauce in North America; he made this sauce in Savannah, Colony of Georgia, from soybeans he had introduced from China and grown on his plantation, Greenwich, in Savannah. (2) From 1770 to 1775 he exported more than 800 gallons of this soy sauce to England. For this sauce he was awarded a gold medal from the Society Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in England. All information about Samuel Bowen in this book is based on the superb research of Hymowitz and Harlan.
1992 Edo jidai shōyu no kaigai yushutsu [Exports of shoyu from Japan during the Edo period], by Teijirō Yamawaki uncovers the fascinating story of how the Dutch exported shoyu from Japan to the Western world. A landmark publication – in Japanese, with a lengthy English summary done by the Kikkoman Institute for International Food Culture (KIIFC, Noda, Japan). We are deeply grateful for this English summary.
1997 Oct. – Kikkoman Foods Europe B.V. starts to make soy sauce at its first plant in Europe – at Hoogezand-Sappemeer, the Netherlands.
1999-2003 – Japanese food historian Ryoichi Iino writes The History of Shoyu in four parts, published online in Food Culture (KIIFC).
2005 Nov. – San Jirushi Corp. is purchased by Yamasa Corp.
Alphabetical list of names of soy sauce (useful for searching digital / electronic text):
Bean sauce, bean-sauce
Black soy sauce
Cantonese soy
Canton soy
Ch’au yau
Ch’au you
Chiang yu, chiang-yu
China soy

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