Marutoyo Foods was the first to produce mirimboshi (dried fish seasoned with mirin) in Kesennuma
Established more than sixty years ago, it was the first to produce mirimboshi in Kesennuma and spread its popularity. Marutoyo Foods is making efforts to develop new food commodities with “priority to seasonal flavors” as its motto.
Taste and materials
Since starting to produce mirimboshi in 1952, Marutoyo Foods has received many awards including the Emperor’s Cup in the fishery division at the Festival of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
To make quality products, the company has developed its own original machines for processing.There is a pumping system to pump up natural spring water into the premises of the head office.
“Our Mirin-dried products have also passed the milestone of sixty years.”
Marutoyo Foods Co., Ltd. Representative Director & President: Tetsuji Shimizu
“Never forget your humble beginnings, Remain true to your roots, now and forever.”
One of the representative seafood products of Kesennuma is “Sanma no Mirin Boshi” (Pacific saury dried with mirin). The company that first produced this mirin-boshi in Kesennuma is Marutoyo Shokuhin Co., Ltd. This ultra-long-selling product has been cherished for over half a century, spanning more than 60 years since its establishment in 1951.
The President and CEO, Mr. Tetsuji Shimizu, learned about the existence of “mirin-boshi” from a newspaper article shown to him by his father one day during his childhood. His father, who worked for a famous confectionery company in Kawasaki, had nurtured his interest in food and manufacturing, perhaps influenced by his exposure to the then-uncommon chocolate factories during his work visits.
When his father decided to start his own business and move to Kesennuma, Mr. Shimizu began assisting in the family business. He had to give up his plans for high school due to daytime work commitments but persevered by attending night school, all the while harboring a determination to become the best in Japan. It was during this period that the unique taste of their original mirin-boshi was born, which is now the taste of Marutoyo Shokuhin’s “Soft Mirin Boshi”. Mr. Shimizu emphasizes, “My father’s seasoning, my father’s recipe, hasn’t changed at all.” They are committed to preserving this deliciousness for the future.
The title of “Number One in Japan” is the reward for the hard work shared with my father.
When visiting the company located in Kariore, Kesennuma City, I discovered that groundwater springs within the premises. It was said that they chose this location because they fell in love with this water. This natural water is utilized in the production of all products at Marutoyo Foods.
Beside the entrance door of the company, there was a wooden plaque hanging on the wall. On it were written the words “Nichinichi kore ganbaru” (日々是頑張), which can be translated to “Every day is a struggle.” These words, filled with Shumizu-san’s determination to keep moving forward step by step with everyone in Kesennuma, carried a profound weight.
Upon being guided to the second-floor office, my attention was drawn to numerous certificates displayed on the wall. Starting with the recognition of “Sanma no mirinboshi” at the Miyagi Prefecture Agricultural Promotion Exhibition in 1958, Marutoyo Foods has received numerous awards for various products such as “Sanma kabayaki,” “Hoyabusogatari,” “Sabaiichiban,” and “Honekko senbei.” Among them, the most prestigious honor was undoubtedly the Emperor’s Cup awarded to “Sanmakun,” a smoked Pacific saury, in the Fishery Department of the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries Festival in 1993.
While all awards were cherished, the Emperor’s Cup held a special significance. It was the fruit of the dream shared with his father to become the best in Japan, the result of their hard work paying off. Shumizu-san visited the grave with the prestigious Emperor’s Cup and reported the achievement to his ancestors by placing it before their resting place.
“If it doesn’t exist, we’ll create it, even the machinery, for the sake of crafting excellent products.”
Being a self-proclaimed “lover of fantasy,” Mr. Shimizu is indeed an imaginative individual with a strong drive for improvement and exploration. In the factory, rows of product manufacturing machines ordered and conceptualized by Mr. Shimizu himself can be found.
The award-winning “Sanma-kun,” which can be eaten with tender bones, owes its softness to an original pressurized smoking machine that circulates temperature, humidity, and pressure. Additionally, plans for new products are underway, including a unique freeze-drying machine for creating freeze-dried products, designed to meet the needs of the future. Looking ahead, there are plans to create preserved foods using sprouted brown rice and seaweed from Sanriku.
“Preserving the taste we’ve upheld for over 60 years is crucial. However, we’re also nurturing new flavors,” says Mr. Shimizu. Ideas continue to flow in his mind, one after another.