Japan Travel News

Where Taste is Concerned by Prairie Stuart-Wolff

Posted on April 15, 2014 within News

Japanese Food Tofu reimagined

Yoshimasa Kwashima always knew he’d end up running the family business. “Probably eighth generation,” he says, guessing at his place in the lineage of tofu-making sons. But before stepping into his father’s shoes, he embarked on a self-imposed exile to the big city, working first as a salaryman. He sought to develop skills unrelated to the family business. “No matter what you end up doing, it’s better to get out and learn something unrelated to get a different perspective,” he says. “That way, you can see your goals more clearly.”

Kawashima is a spritely 65 years old. His gray hair is buzzed short and he’s quick to flash a charming smile. “Once I was able to consider our craft from an outsider’s point of view, I more readily understood the quality of our tofu. I saw ways I could make it better,” he adds with characteristic self-assurance. “I came up with my own way of doing things from the start.” Returning to his hometown, Karatsu, with new ideas and grand plans, he took over his father’s business and overhauled the process of tofu-making.

By Prairie Stuart-Wolff

This is the first in a continuing series of featured articles authored by Prairie Stuart-Wolff from her online publication Cultivated Days.