Business Food Education

Japan Visit for Outstanding Students of Japanese Studies at Shanghai University

November 20, 2023

Kikkoman strives to share Japan's rich culinary heritage with the world while introducing splendid food cultures from around the globe to Japan, aiming “to promote the international exchange of food culture”, which is one of our management principles.
The Kikkoman “紫 MURASAKI” Fund, established for Japanese Studies at Shanghai University in 2010, is representative of this principle. To the present day, the fund has continued to provide educational supports including scholarships, Japan visits for outstanding students, and special lectures by noted professors specialized in Japanese culture from both China and Japan, with the aim of facilitating “the international exchange of food cultures and foster aspiring individuals who will act as a bridge between China and Japan.
The fund was started when Kikkoman exhibited its Japanese Restaurant “紫 MURASAKI” at the Japan Industry Pavilion during Expo 2010 Shanghai China. Students majoring in Japanese at the School of Foreign Languages of Shanghai University helped with the restaurant's operation as cooking assistants and hall staff. This collaboration inspired Kikkoman to establish the fund to further this exchange.

Setting of the Kikkoman “紫 MURASAKI” Fund in 2010

In July 2023, after a 3-year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kikkoman resumed the Japan visit for students with high scholastic standing. This visit consists of a 6-day program and provides two students from Japanese Studies with opportunities to interact with partner universities in Japan and experience Japanese culture firsthand. One day of the program is designated as “Kikkoman Training Day,” where participants learn about Japanese food culture and soy sauce.
This year, “Kikkoman Training Day” included a plant tour and a hands-on soy sauce making experience at the Kikkoman Soy Sauce Museum in Noda-city, Chiba, followed by a meet-up session with young employees of Kikkoman.
During the plant tour, the participants observed the traditional soy sauce-making process at “Goyogura” (special soy sauce brewery for the Imperial Household) and learned about modern production methods incorporating cutting-edge technologies and equipment at the Kikkoman Soy Sauce Museum. The guided tour in Japanese provided the students with a valuable opportunity to learn about the traditions and technological innovations in Japanese soy sauce production, and touch on new terms like “発酵” (fermentation) and “圧搾” (pressing).
In the hands-on soy sauce making experience, the students learned about the production process of soy sauce using their five senses; They smelled the aroma of processed ingredients and “moromi” mash, and mixed the ingredients with soy sauce koji mold using their own hands. The students were surprised at the changing aroma of the “moromi” as it fermented, and cheered at the day-by-day changes in appearance of the soy sauce koji. At first, they seemed a bit nervous, but as time passed, smiles appeared on their faces and it became a fun and joyous experience.

Group photo at the Kikkoman Soy Sauce Museum
Students during hands-on soy sauce making

Thereafter, the Chinese students and young employees of Kikkoman from Japan shared their respective food cultures with each other at the head office in Tokyo. They eagerly asked questions and expressed their views on topics including unique Chinese ingredients such as century eggs, and the Japanese raw food culture focusing on “sashimi”. This time of young generations from different countries enjoying deep conversations on the topic of “food “, exemplifies “the international exchange of food culture” itself and strengthened the bond between participants.

Meet-up session with young Kikkoman employees

Kikkoman will continue to operate the Kikkoman “紫 MURASAKI” Fund to support the learning of Shanghai University students through a variety of activities.