History of Miso, Soybean Jiang (China), Jang (Korea), and Tauco / Taotjo (Indonesia) (200 B.C. to 2009)

William Shurtleff, Akiko AoyagiISBN: ISBN 978-1-928914-22-8

Publication Date: 2009 April 16

Number of References in Bibliography: 4362

Earliest Reference:

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Miso, or "fermented soybean paste," is one of East Asia's most important soyfoods. Miso is an all-purpose high-protein seasoning, which has no counterpart among Western foods or seasonings. Made from soybeans, rice or barley, and salt, its smooth or chunky texture resembles that of soft peanut butter. It comes in a wide range of warm, earthy colors ranging from light yellows to rusty reds, rich chocolate browns, or loamy blacks. Each miso has its own distinctive flavor and aroma, which for the darker, more traditional varieties is savory, and sometimes almost meaty, while for the lighter-colored types is subtly sweet and delicately refreshing. Miso's range of flavors and colors, textures and aromas, is at least as varied as that of the world's fine wines or cheeses.

Today miso is made by a small number of companies in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and (as miso or miso products) is widely available at supermarkets, natural- and health food stores, and Asian stores.

200 B.C. (approx.) - Soybean jiang is first mentioned in China in the Wushi’er Bing Fang [Prescriptions for Fifty-Two Ailments].

544 A.D. - The Qimin Yaoshu (W.-G. Ch’i Min Yao Shu), by Jia Sixie in China gives the first detailed descriptions of making soybean jiang - and other soyfoods.

701 - Soybean hishio, miso, and soy nuggets start to be made in Japan by the Hishio Tsukasa, a government bureau. Reference to this is found in documents published between 730 and 748.

901-08 - The modern word for miso first appears in Japan in the Sandai Jitsuroku.

927 - The Engi Shiki gives the first details about the production of soybean hishio/miso in Japan.

1597 - Miso is first mentioned by a Westerner, the Flo­rentine Francesco Carletti; he calls it misol.

1712 - Englebert Kaempfer, a German who lived in Japan, is the first European to give detailed descriptions of how miso and shoyu are made in Japan. Also mentions koji.

1727 - Miso is first mentioned in an English-language publication, The History of Japan, by E. Kaempfer. He spells it "Midsu, a mealy Pap, which they dress their Victuals withal, as we do butter."

1779 - The word "miso" ("that is used as butter") first appears in an English-language publication, the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

1847 - The word "miso" first appears in print in the United States, in a letter from T.W.H. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, to the Farmers' Cabinet and Herd Book.

1907 - Miso is first made commercially in the continental United States by Yamane Miso, Sakana Sho in Sacramento, California. The next four commercial miso makers in the continental USA all started in California, owned and operated by Japanese: 1908 - Sanyo Shokai, in Melrose (near Alameda); 1913 – Marumi Miso Seizo-sho, in Los Angeles; 1917 – Fujimoto Co., in San Francisco (Brand: Kanemasa Miso). 1919 – Norio Co., in San Francisco (Type: Shiro miso = Sweet white miso).

1908 - Miso is first made commercially in Hawaii by the Hawaiian Yamajo Soy Company of Honolulu.

1921 - The term "bean paste" is first used to refer to miso by J.L. North of England in the Illustrated London News.

1929 - Amano Brothers, Canada's first commercial miso maker, starts in Vancouver, British Columbia. Founder: Mr. Teiichi Amano.

1960 - Dr. C.W. Hesseltine and K. Shibasaki, of the Northern Regional Research Laboratory in Peoria, Illinois, publish the first of many important scientific articles on miso.

1963 - Michio and Aveline Kushi, teachers of Macrobiotics in Boston, start to teach Americans about miso.

1966 April - Aveline Kushi (with Evan Root) starts Erewhon, a pioneering retailer in Boston, that soon starts selling miso.

1968 - Erewhon expands to become an importer and distributor of natural and macrobiotic foods. Their first two misos, Mugi Miso and Hacho Miso, are imported from Japan.

1976 June - Miyako Oriental Foods, a division of Yamajirushi Miso Co. in Japan, starts making miso in Los Angeles. Owned by Noritoshi Kanai. Brands: Yamajirushi, Kanemasa, Yamaizumi.

1976 Sept. - The Book of Miso, by Shurtleff and Aoyagi, is published by Autumn Press of Hayama, Japan. This is the first book about miso in the Western world. In Aug. 1977 the authors publish Miso Production, the first book in English that describes how to start and run a commercial miso company.

1977 Oct.  – Susan-Marie (“Lulu”) Yoshihara arrives in Japan (with her 4-year-old son) to study miso production. After five months she returns to Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada, to help found Shin-Mei-Do Miso Co. with her husband, Yasuo (“Yoshi”). Thus, she is the first Westerner or Caucasian to travel to Japan with the specific goal of establishing commercial miso production in North America or Europe.

1978 Oct. - The Ohio Miso Co., the first Caucasian-run miso company in the Western world, is founded by Thom Leonard and Richard Kluding. They begin miso production on 13 March 1979.

1978 Nov. - Joel Dee of Edward & Sons (New Jersey) launches Natural Instant Miso Cup, an instant miso soup made with freeze-dried miso from Japan.

1978 Dec. - Miyako Oriental Foods of Los Angeles introduces Cold Mountain Firm Granular Rice Koji, the first koji sold commercially in the USA. In 1979 they start selling Cold Mountain Miso, the first miso with an American-style brand.

1979 Oct. - John and Jan Belleme arrive in Japan to study traditional miso- and koji-making with the Onozaki family in Yaita, Japan. They are the first Caucasians to do this, and then to return to the West to start making miso commercially. From 1981 on they write many superb articles about miso, published in America.

1979 April - Shin-Mei-Do Miso is founded by Lulu and Yasuo Yoshihara on Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada.

1981 April - John Troy of Elf Works, Ltd. in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, launches Hot Stuff, an early and very successful American miso product. He first learned about miso from Joel Dee.

1981 Aug. - John and Jan Belleme begin full-time, large-scale production of miso and koji at Erewhon Miso Co. in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. By early 1982 their company is renamed American Miso Co. with Barry Evans as the new owner.

1982 Oct. 25 - Christian and Gaella Elwell start making miso and koji at South River Miso Co. in Conway, Mass. Earlier that year they purchased The Ohio Miso Co.

2003 Dec. - Trader Joe’s starts to sell Trader Joe’s Instant Miso Soup, the most convenient and delicious miso product we have yet to find – when freshly grated ginger is added just before serving.

This Book is About:

History of Miso in Japan
History of Miso in the United States
History of Miso in Canada
History of Miso in North America
History of Japanese Miso
History of Jiang in China
History of Chinese Jiang
History of Chiang in China
History of Chinese Chiang
History of Tauco in Indonesia
History of Taotjo in Indonesia
History of Indonesian Tauco
History of Indonesian Taotjo
History of Miso Soup
History of American Miso Co. (North Carolina)
John Belleme, Jan Belleme, Takamichi Onozaki, Michio Kushi, Aveline Kushi, Don DeBona, Sandy Pukel, Barry Evans
History of Miyako Oriental Foods (California)
    Noritoshi Kanai, Teruo Shimizu
History of Ohio Miso Co.
    Thom Leonard, Richard Kluding
History of South River Miso Co.
Christian Elwell, Gaella Elwell
History of Shin-Mei-Do Miso Co. (Denman Island, BC, British Columbia, Canada)
    Susan-Marie “Lulu” Yoshihara, Yasuo “Yoshi” Yoshihara
History of Elf Works (North Carolina)
History of Wizard’s Cauldron (North Carolina)
    John Troy
Trader Joe’s Instant Miso Soup + freshly grated ginger

Click here to download the full text to open and read book History of Miso, Soybean Jiang (China), Jang (Korea), and Tauco / Taotjo (Indonesia) (200 B.C. to 2009)