Food | Mar 18

The making of kinako, roasted soybean powder

A day in the life of a Japanese Kinako Roasted Soybean Powder Maker in Tokyo Japan.

Kinako powder though, uniquely known for it’s soft flour-like, sweet and nutty taste, originated in Japan during it’s nara & heian period and was used as a medicine by the wealthy due it’s exceptional nutritional value, but now commonly eaten with with many Japanese sweets like mochi and even dairy products. Ogawa Sangyo, a local Kinako factory that’s been expertly crafting roasted soybean powder since 1908 when Keisuke’s great grandfather started the factory. Companies like this, with a long history are called Shinise and are quite common in Japan as there are about 43,000 companies which are more than 100 years old, more than any other country in the world, and their mostly family owned. While owned by the 3rd generation father, the 4 generation son, Keisuke, is working hard to take over the family business and all of the roasted soybean flour production responsibilities. We follow Keisuke through his day in living in Tokyo, from morning until evening to see how he is running the Japanese kinako roasted soybean powder factory. Understanding this, he attended a specialized commercial high school, which concentrated on business knowledge, studied law at university and then worked at professional kitchen appliance company for 10 years, and with all this experience finally returned to help continue on the legacy. The factory used Fuku-yutaka Soybeans known for its exquisite sweetness grown in the rich and fertile soil of saga prefecture. On an average day like this, the factory processes about 600kg, 1320 lbs of their raw soybeans, which will ultimately yield 30x 18kg 40lb bags of sweet roasted finely ground kinako powder. This is Keisuke's typical factory work day in Japan.


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