When people need to be motivated to work together for reconstructing Japan, there is nothing that unites them more than national symbols. Sometimes, the symbol can come up directly from the kitchen. A roll cake flavored with soy sauce is becoming increasingly popular across Iwate Prefecture and the country as a symbol of rebuilding after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
In the city of Kamaishi, Yuji Takahashi, a 55-year old volunteer, proposed last summer to a local company to develop a new product to represent the city. The company, Kamaishi Shinko Kaihatsu, asked a local soy sauce producer called Fujiyu Jozo to join in the project and they developed together the Shoyu Roll cake.
They introduced the cake commercially in November, after working to determine the exact amount of soy sauce by trial and error.
The combination between the flavored soy sauce and the sweetness of the cream filling started quickly to gather fans among consumers and the joint-venture sold almost 2,000 cakes by December, including to customers from other parts of the country like Osaka and Tokyo.
“We want to make the roll cake into a new specialty of Kamaishi. We’re planning to set up a cake factory corner inside our shop to create new employment,” said a representative of the Kamaishi Shinko Kaihatsu company.