The plan to promote fermentation tourism in 47 prefectures has succeeded in raising a total of 5.85 million yen, thanks to the generous support from 386 investors.
This success has fueled me with the momentum to call for another crowd-funding project!
Hello. My name is Hiraku Ogura. I am a fermentation designer.
I am engaged in the activities to introduce and spread to the world the rich culture of fermentation and the wonders of how the microorganisms that we cannot see with our naked eyes contribute to the fermentation process by utilizing design, my source of creativity, as the communication tool to deliver my message across.
Currently, I am planning an exhibition titled “Fermentation Tourism NIPPON” that aims at
rediscovering the Japanese culture by navigating the participants to a journey to find the different approaches taken in 47 prefectures to enrich the local food culture through fermentation.
The Japanese archipelago is blessed with a wide range of climate and natural land features that create dynamic contrast in the enivironment, living conditions and landscape over the four seasons, lending hands to the development of cultural and spritual diversity and an incredibly rich and varied food culture, especially in the genre of preserved food where fermentation has long been playing a major role in the making.
Many would probably answer sake or soy sauce when they are asked what they know as fermented products that originated in Japan. Actually, there are much more. In fact, Japan is filled with unique recipes of fermented food deeply rooted in various localities, including some rarities that not even the people living in their place of origin know about or more legendary ones that are almost completely lost in oblivion by now.
The program I am putting together for the exhibition in Shibuya Hikarie d47 MUSEUM this time will showcase the fermentated food, along with their recipes and history, that I have selected as the most representative samples of the deep and rich food culture born and evolved in each of the 47 prefectures. These exhibits will later be documented in the form of a catalog for distribution and wider public recognition.
As I encountered the numerous local recipes through my visit to all these prefectures, I became more and more motivated and excited about the idea of sharing these superb examples of fermentation culture developed over the years in Japan with the people all around the world.They reflect the ingenuity of our ancestors who developed their orginal methods of preserving food that could withstand the harsh natural environment in the age when flesh-eating was prohibited.
They embody the spritual and cultural values widely accepted by them in the olden days. They form a part of the breath-taking landscape along with the originators and existing food specialists whostrive to pass on the highly sophisticated fermentation techniques to the next generation.
I strongly believe that the selected exhibitis form a valuable recollection of ancient wisdom that must not only be retained but also passed on to our future generations in the next century and beyond.
They are our precious intangible assets that are definitely worth sharing with people living all around the world in various natural environment. These are the thoughts that propelled me to challenge calling for another crowd-funding project that could reach out to a larger group of like-minded people in the whole wide world by translating the information of the entire project into English.
These are the three things I want to do.
The venue I have chosen for this exhibition can be accessed directly from Shibuya Station.
I intentionally chose this very convenient location, considering the easy access especially for
the visitors from abroad and international people living or staying in Tokyo who may still not be familiar with this part of the city. As you can tell from this choice of the venue location, I want to invite as many people as possible from abroad to this exhibition and entertain them with an array of amazing local food and fermentation culture developed here in Japan.
As mentioned above, this exhibition will be a carefully selected compilation of recipes and
supplementary information, such as, the historical background that led to the development of
these recipes and the key persons with profound knowledge about these recipes.
Here is the map that shows the place of origin of the fermented food I selected for this exhibition from each of the 47 prefectures, which include the following:
富山：黒作り | Toyama: Kuro-zukuri
Shiokara (salted squid guts) blended with karasumi (dried mullet roe) to enhance the
squid’s umami flavor.
神奈川：久寿餅（くずもち）| Kanagawa: Kuzu-mochi
A rare type of Japanese-style confectionery made from lactic fermentation of flour starch.
鳥取：柿の葉ずし | Tottori: Kaki-no-ha-zushi
Vinegar-seasoned rice cake with a slice of trout as topping, sitting on persimmon leaves.
Local type of sushi originated as an offering to the gods protecting the mountains in this locality.
山梨：甲州ワイン | Yamanashi: Koshu wine
Wine made from indigenous variety of grape that matches well with Japanese cuisine.
京都：しば漬け | Kyoto: Shiba-zuke
A well-known type of seasoned pickles made in Kyoto through lactic fermentation of red perilla and eggplant.
岐阜：アユのなれずし | Gifu: Ayu-no-nare-zushi
A type of sushi that feature an entire ayu fish (with internal organs) marinated with rice. Referred also as the “terroir of the river” that owes its name from the crystal stream flowing
愛知：八丁味噌 Aichi: Hatcho-Miso
Miso (bean paste) made only from soy beans to feature the richly condensed essence of soy remaining after fermentation. Still retains the remnants of “jiàng”, the traditional seasoning agent imported from ancient China.
The following are the rules I applied as the criteria for selection:
→Avoid overlaps in food types
→Be true to their roots
→Focus on the landscape and people in each of these localities
Please look forward to seeing what kinds of fermented food have been chosen as a result of this rigorous selection process, which hopely would include a good number of new discoveries and happy surprises to even those who may already be somewhat familiar with this particular food genre!
【Special Supporter】 Rachel Chan (radio personality)
I think Japan can proudly say it has one of the richest fermentation culture in the world.
Being a lover of Japanese sake myself, I have been to a number of sake breweries located in various parts of this country. It’s a sheer pleasure to be served with the freshly brewed sake that the brewers in each location devoted a great deal of time and care in the making, along with the perfect combination of savory local dishes and rare delicacies.
Microorganisms that play a central role in fermentation are so diverse, just like each one of us who has individual qualities that are never fully identical. Why not use this opportunity to take a close look at them by exploring deep down into this mystical microorganic world together?
Besides sake, we also have Natto (fermented soy beans) and Miso (bean paste) soup that mostly all Japanese have been raised with from early childhood. No wonder we find fermented food to be so delicious and familar to our gustatory sense! Why not enjoy more?
【Special Supporter】 Hitoshi Gomi (Miso Brewer)
Fermentation culture is the product of a persistent search of culinary possibilities pursued by our gluttonous ancestors that came to fruition after repeated trials and errors under the given climatic conditions of the natural environment they were in. I hear Hiraku is going to hold an exhibition on this theme to show us what he has found while visiting the origins of widely varied fermented food developed in 47 prefectures.
On top of that, he is also thinking of publishing a book based on his travel notes. I can’t wait to see them all! So Hiraku, please know that the entire Gomi family is here to back you up! And all of you reading this comment, come on board and let’s all lend Hiraku our helping hands!
【Special Supporter】 Masashi Kimura（Fashion designer）
I see Hiraku Ogura as an observer who sees the society from the outside. He is a hippie who discoversthe “alternative” of the times. I mean, c’mon. Who in the world calls yourself a “fermentation designer”? What kind of a job title is that? He is totally gone out there, man!
Just like the hippies in the 1960s who became philosophical and got absorbed in spiritual and cosmic journeys to find a new path to harmony that they often referred to as “peace and love”, Hiraku Ogura is also a pathfinder of harmony who decided to delve deep into the microcosmic world of microorganisms.
What’s so intriguing about his approach is that he is not looking for any new set of values that will get him to the promised land of harmony, but is trying to find a path to that destination through his untiring exploration of the past to unravel the mystery of where the culture of fermentation derived from and how it began to take root. I understand that his exhibition is going to feature the fermentation culture that he found in all the 47 prefectures of this country. I believe that these findings will give him the key to unlock the gateway to find the new harmonious world he has been looking for. And through this exhibition, he is simply going to say “Hello, world!” and take us all to a new age of peace and love that we have never seen before. That’s my hunch.
Come see my blog site to find where I am with the “fermentation tourism across 47 prefectures”.I am regularly updating my blog with the latest report on local fermented food that I am discovering as I visit each and every prefecture of this country. Previous reports are also been archived by prefecture (in Japanese only though).
Japan is a land of fermentation.
Fermentation is a story teller that walks you through the history of how each locality that constitutesthis country called Japan has come to being. Fermented food changes form depending on the climatic conditions and natural environment of each locality. Not only that, it is also affected by the political and economic circumstances each region was in. It is the creative output that directly reflects the ingenuity of the people living in each region who tried to make the best of edible and nutritional resources that were available to them and their continuous efforts to pass on the wisdom generation after generation.
Fermented food is not a fancy dish. But it emits a strong raw power that makes it look cool. That raw power is generated from microorganisms and “protected” by the food producers that know how to keep pace with the natural speed of fermentation driven by these productive microbes. The interactive process of these microorganisms and food producers gives us an enligtening perspective through which we can find that there are so many things we can learn from them.
As I visit various parts of this country, I frequently find the people living in this archipelago to have a profound knowledge about their surrounding nature. Another commonality is that they all remain humble. Their modest desire to live as happily as possible within the given conditions and limited resources available to them has led them to develop their ingenuity. Their continous efforts to exercise and stretch their ingenuity have at the same time helped them refine their aesthetic consciousness as well.
When I realized that the combination of all these elements has long been residing deep down in the soul of the Japanese people, I was struck with a genuine surprise, making me stand in awe. The wisdom and ingenuity of these people are what enabled fermentation to evolve in such a sophisticated form in this country. That is why it makes me proud to say out loud that Japan is indeed a land of fermentation.
Let me try to explain to you what I really want to deliver through this project by metaphorically describing this project as a music album that is divided into an A-side and a B-side.
On the A-side, I would naturally want to entertain you with what I found to be “so delicious!” and “so enjoyable!” On the B-side, I would like to take you all to a quest to let you find out for yourself “how the Japanese have been living throughout all these years?”
What I discovered through this journey to the 47 prefectures was that the fermentation culture developed in each of these prefecture is so diverse. But this discovery would not have been possible if I had not gone down the memory lane of some elderly local people I had the privilege of meeting during this journey.
last chance for us to archive the fermentation heritage
When I think of that, this project may perhaps be the last chance for us to archive the fermentation heritage of this country in its entirety.
For this exhibition, I have deliberately selected a list of fermented food that consists of many items that may never be reproducible:
- if that one family living with a grandmother who remembered the traditional recipe long forgotten by all others stopped making this particular delicacy;
- if this one ingredient eventually becomes unavailable because the number of farmers or food processing companies supplying this ingredient is getting less and less; or
- if this recipe that was completely lost in oblivion could not be digged up from the archive and there is no one else who can afford the time and cost to start using the lost recipe again and pass it on to the next generation.
I honestly feel that this exhibition will be the first and the last occasion to shed light on the local fermentation culture that is rapidly fading and getting very close to the brink of oblivion and that it is my mission as the exhibitor to pass the baton filled with the rich history of fermented food to the younger generations, hoping that they will continue to relay this baton to keep their future dietary life as refined as their ancestors.
会期 2019年4月26日（金）〜 7月8日（月）
会場 d47 MUSEUM／入場無料
協賛： 株式会社環境ダイゼン 株式会社ビオック・株式会社糀屋三左衛門
Period: April 26 (Fri) – July 8 (Mon), 2019
Venue: d47 MUSEUM / Admission free
Organizer: D&DEPARTMENT PROJECT
Sponsors: Kankyo-Daizen Co., Ltd. / Bioc Co., Ltd. /Koji-Za Co., Ltd
Supporter: ALL YOURS