food forum


2023 YFU Kikkoman Summer Activity

International cultural enrichment for students

September 27, 2023

Participants in 2023 YFU Kikkoman Summer Activity

Since 1978, Kikkoman Corporation has sponsored an international student exchange program hosted by Youth for Understanding (YFU), a US-based international nonprofit organization, to provide students with opportunities for education and personal development. The YFU exchange program invites about twenty US high school students to Japan for homestays with Japanese families for the summer, while Japanese high school students study in the US for one year. The program aims to deepen an understanding of the cultural differences between the two countries, to learn respect through cultural experience, and for young people to develop confidence and motivation to achieve their dreams.

This July, Kikkoman organized the YFU Kikkoman Summer Activity and invited the US students and their host families, together with a returning Japanese student, to the Kikkoman Soy Sauce Museum at the company’s Noda plant, where participants enjoyed a plant tour and a hands-on soy sauce brewing experience. The tour provided an opportunity to observe and learn about today’s automated soy sauce brewing process, as well as about traditional brewing at the Goyogura brewery, where soy sauce has been made for the Imperial household for generations. Kikkoman Soy Sauce is produced using the brewing method honjozo, developed during the Edo period (1603-1867), which involves the fermentation of soybeans, wheat, salt and water with microorganisms. This essential process has remained unchanged for centuries, and is used in all of Kikkoman’s overseas plants today, delivering high quality soy sauce to over one hundred countries.

Making soy sauce
Teams share their thoughts at the end of the activity.

Working in teams, students tried their hand at parts of the soy sauce brewing process, which brought smiles to their faces. Participants also enjoyed ice cream made of milk and soy milk with a touch of soy sauce, a delicious combination that surprised them with its caramel-like flavor. To conclude the event, the enthusiastic students shared their thoughts about the program, many having learned for the first time that microorganisms are used in producing soy sauce. This activity provided an excellent opportunity for the students to discover the secret behind delicious Kikkoman Soy Sauce, and Kikkoman will continue to promote international youth exchange by supporting the YFU program.