No one raise an objection if I say what makes Japanese food special is the taste and smells of the broth called “dashi”. Most of dashi consists of two main ingredients, one is dried kelp and the other is Katsuobushi.
Like other traditional food, katsuobushi production process has shifted to mass production industry-wide.
But some do not follow such trend.
‘We won’t make our Katsuobushi production bigger’ said Takeuchi san, the president of Takeuchi Shoten. ‘Because if we do so, we can’t control down to the smallest detail’
The Katsuobushi making of Takeuchi Shoten is somewhat before industrialization. From filleting bonito, to drying them under the sun, and packing, you won’t see any robots which you can see everywhere if you visit Japanese food factories.
Takeuchi shoten is located at the beautiful small fishery village in Tosa city, Kochi prefecture. Visiting the village in summer is full of delight; swimming at the beach, surfing at the Niyodo river mouth, eating local citrus, shopping at local fish market every Saturday. But working at the Katsuobushi chamber, and just standing and watching the process is sweltering hot. While there are boiling pots and smoking in same room, craftspeople work hard to cut bonito into fillets and smooth their surface, then boil and smoke them.
After these process, black colored semi-processed Katsuobushi are moved to mold chamber for fermentation. Repeating fermentation and sun-dried more than two times, finally fillets of bonito are certified as Katsuobushi.
Nowadays, this kind of authentic process is rarely seen, so as future. The view of Takeuchi shoten is what I would love to preserve for the future children.