[Complete explanation] What is the origin and history of miso?

This time, we will thoroughly explain the origin and history of miso .

I was studying the history of miso and the management of fermented breweries when I was in college.

Miso is familiar to us, but since we don't learn it at school, few people may know the origin and history of miso.

This is a complete version of the history of miso that will impress you, "Can you explain this far?"

If you read it to the end, you will be able to explain the history of miso to others, so please read it!

[Origin of miso] The theory that came from China and the theory that was born in Japan

Returning to the origin of miso, there are actually two theories.

  1. The theory that the ancient Chinese seasoning "Sho" was introduced from China during the Asuka and Nara periods
  2. The theory that it was made and eaten as a preserved food in the Jomon period

    In conclusion, one of them is not the correct origin of miso, but the fusion of ancient Chinese food culture and ancient Japanese food culture gave birth to miso. I did.

    (1) The theory that the ancient Chinese seasoning "Sho" was introduced from China during the Asuka and Nara periods.

    Since ancient times, Japan has been influenced politically and culturally by China and the Korean Peninsula.

    The introduction of miso is related to Buddhism, and Buddhism was introduced from China to Japan in 538.

    The Yamato administration at that time promoted Buddhism, and Chinese culture came to enter Japan more.

    Along with that, the food culture of China and the Korean Peninsula came into Japan, and the ancient Chinese seasoning "Sho" was included in the ingredients that were transmitted.

    This "sho" is said to be the predecessor of miso .

    What is soy sauce in the first place?

    What is "Sho"?

    Jiàng is a fermented seasoning made by beating meat such as fish and birds and beasts, mixing it with koji and salt, and sealing it in a jar for 100 days.

    Since making soy sauce required specialized knowledge and skills, the court had a specialized department.

    The base of soybeans was not soybeans, but mainly "meat soybeans" based on animal ingredients.

    Background of soybeans entering China

    Soybeans entered ancient China during the time of the emperor (emperor's name) in Western Han (202 BC-8 BC). .
    Wudi will send Zhang Qian to Central Asia in 140 BC due to his aggressive foreign policy. .
    The purpose was an alliance with a neighboring country, which was not fulfilled, but brought a lot of Central Asian artifacts and information into China. .
    The fact that soybeans were included in it is the background of soybeans entering China.

    ② The theory that it was made and eaten as a preserved food in the Jomon period

    In the Jomon and Yayoi periods, salted soybeans were used for preservation.

    In the Japanese archipelago, which is an island country, salt was obtained by boiling seawater in earthenware.

    Salt may improve the shelf life, and in the era when there was no preservation technology such as refrigeration and freezing, perishable ones were salted and preserved.

    It is thought that the seasoning that is the predecessor of miso is created by the attachment of fermented bacteria in the process.

    [History of Miso] From ancient China to the Reiwa era

    Next, I would like to tell you about the history of miso from ancient China to the Reiwa era.

    [Ancient China] Miso's advance "soy sauce" that Confucius was particular about

    I talked about ancient China at the origin, but there is actually another interesting episode.

    "Sho", the origin of Misono, also appears in the analects that summarize the words of Confucius.

    Confucius said that he wouldn't eat rotten foods, badly colored or poorly cooked foods, or out-of-season foods, and then said, "I don't like soy sauce." > Is said.

    In ancient China, food was closely related to "ritual".

    Actually, the soy sauce used for food is decided, and Confucius respected the agreement and said, "Inedia soy sauce is not good."

    How to make ancient Chinese "soy sauce" and "豉"

    The ancient Chinese agricultural technology book, "Saimin Jijutsu," describes how to make "soybeans" and "豉" from soybeans.

    As you can see in the Chinese characters, "Sho" is written as "rooster", and in the past, it was mainly made from animal ingredients . ..

    After that, soybeans came in, and "豉" made from beans and millet came to be made.

    However, "Soy sauce" and "豉" are made from soybeans, but the methods of making them are quite different.

    Regarding the timing, "Sho" is from January to March, "豉" is from April to August, and "豉" is not good when it is too cold in winter or too hot in summer.

    As for the container, "soy sauce" is made using jars, but "豉" is made in a hut.

    "Sho" is boiled in a jar and aged in the jar.

    On the other hand, "豉" is boiled in a cauldron while stirring slowly, stopped when it becomes soft, and spread in the soil of the hut to stir.

    Pile the beans in a mountain shape, insert your hand into it, and when it is as warm as the armpits of a person, turn over the warm beans on the inside and the cold beans on the outside with a plow. Repeat for about 5 days to stabilize the temperature.

    [Nara period] It was written in the Manyoshu and was included as a tax.

    "Sho", the predecessor of miso, appears in Manyoshu.

    "Garlic in soy sauce, pray for sea bream, show it to me, hot onion"

    The meaning is "I wanted to eat my body with soup made from nobile, but don't show me the soup of Mizuaoi."

    In addition to that, because it is also written in the anthropomorphic "Beggar's Song" as an art, "Sho" is not a food in a limited place such as a court, but a wide range of society as a whole. It can be seen that was popular in Japan.

    "Soy sauce" and "unsoy sauce" that were included in the tax

    Among the soy sauce that came from China, there was a soybean paste called "unsoy sauce", which is said to be the predecessor of miso.

    These soy sauce and unsoy sauce were included as taxes in the Nara period.

    According to the ancient documents of Shosoin in Nara Todaiji Temple, soy sauce and unsoy sauce first appeared in 730 in Owari Kokusho Tax, and in addition to Suruga and Nagato.

    There is a description that soy sauce and unsoy sauce were included as taxes from Tajima and Bungo provinces.

    However, what comes out at that time is "soy sauce" and "unsoy sauce", not "miso".

    In the Nara period, "soy sauce" and "unsoy sauce" were in the development stage of becoming Japan's unique "miso", so it is thought that they were not yet independent as ingredients.

    It was in the Heian period that it appeared as "miso".

    "Hinoho" and "Sho" read as the same "Hishio"

    Around 500 years before "soy sauce" was introduced from China, the prototype of soy sauce called "Hinoho" was made in Japan. .
    As the characters became more widespread in the Nara period, there were many things in common in terms of the flavors of "Hinoho" and "Sho", so both were "Hishio". It came to be called.

    [Heian period] It was also useful as a gift.

    Miso came to be expressed independently of soy sauce and non-soy sauce in the Heian period, which appears in the "Japanese Third Generation Jitsuroku".

    It is written in the document "Enki-shiki" that Kyoto moved from Heijokyo in Nara to Heiankyo in Kyoto, and there was a miso specialty store in the Heiankyo market.

    In addition, it is written in the Ki-shiki that miso was used for salaries of officials and was also used as a gift .

    When viewed as a gift, miso has come out as a special product of Kawachi Province, and it can be imagined that it was an indispensable ingredient for people's eating habits.

    [Kamakura period] Privileged classes begin to drink miso soup

    Chinese "soy sauce" was basically used as a seasoning to be added to dishes, but in Japan during the Kamakura period, miso soup appeared for the purpose of eating miso itself. ..

    Miso soup is thought to have started in the Kamakura period and began in earnest in the Muromachi period.

    "Soup over rice" produced by Samurai Kamakura

    Minamoto no Yoritomo ordered the samurai to be frugal, but I aimed to eat delicious foods with high nutrients so that I could fight in the event of a samurai. rice field.

    Miso has been attracting attention as a tasty and nutritious food, and Samurai's meals are always accompanied by miso soup.

    At first, the style was rice + miso, but due to time saving while busy, the style of "rice with soup" is becoming more and more common.

    [Muromachi period] Infiltrate the common people and solidify the foundation of miso culture

    In the Muromachi period, miso rapidly penetrated into Japanese society.

    There are two reasons for this.

    1. Successful mass production of soybeans
    2. Miso as a nutritional food for vegan monks was sold to the public

      ① Successful mass production of soybeans

      Soybeans were introduced to Japan during the Jomon period, but mass production was not successful.

      However, in the Muromachi period, soybeans were successfully mass-produced, and miso making became popular among ordinary farmers.

      Farmers began to sell miso other than their own miso in the market, and due to the increase in distribution volume, miso has spread to every corner of Japanese society.

      ② Miso as a nutritional food for vegan monks was sold to the public.

      New Buddhism such as the Jodo sect, Nichiren sect, and Zen sect, which were born in the Kamakura period, will continue to expand in power during the Muromachi period.

      The Buddhist monks at that time were vegans who did not eat animal foods such as meat and fish.

      But They were required to have the physical strength and mental strength to withstand rigorous training, and it was the nutrient-rich miso that was useful in such an environment.

      Since Kamakura Buddhism was a Buddhism whose purpose was to save the people, it had a strong connection with the masses and became an opportunity for miso to permeate.

      Also, in order to earn maintenance costs at Buddhist temples, we sold brewed miso, which accelerated the penetration.

      [Sengoku period] Become a must-have item for battle

      In the Warring States period, when Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi Toyotomi appeared, miso became a necessity for war.

      The reason why Miso was preferred by the samurai is because Miso compensates for the intense consumption of "salt" and "energy" due to battles and training.

      Sengoku warlords have positioned miso as an important military item along with rice.

      Date Masamune, who built the miso factory

      The Sengoku warlords also devised ways to procure miso when fighting.

      Shingen Takeda ordered farmers on the highway to increase soybean production and make miso when advancing the army, and bought the miso that was made.

      Toyotomi Hideyoshi buys rice, miso, and salt from farmers and is advancing his army.

      Furthermore, Date Masamune of Sendai built a miso factory and warehouse called "Oshio Misozo" in the castle, and made miso for troops.

      The miso made by Date Masamune is very good, and when Toyotomi Hideyoshi sent troops to Korea, the Date family's miso became famous for a long time.

      "Jinritsu Miso" marching while making miso invented by Takeda Shingen

      Shingen Takeda invented a battle camp meal that marches while making miso called "Jinritsu Miso".

      Jinritsu Miso departs by mortaring soybeans, adding salt and jiuqu, rolling them up and wrapping them in paper before leaving.

      In this era when traveling was on foot or by horse, the march took a long time, and by the time we reached the battlefield, miso was ready.

      Soldiers used this miso to make miso soup.

      Ieyasu Tokugawa, who liked the most miso among the Sengoku daimyo

      Ieyasu Tokugawa was a person who was very concerned about food, and he also liked miso. .
      Ieyasu's favorite is Mikawa miso, which is made in the local Mikawa province, and along with Hatcho miso, soybean-based soybean miso.
      Ieyasu was ordered to change countries from the Tokai region to the Kanto region under the name of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, but he was eating Mikawa miso even after he went to Edo Castle.

      [Edo period] Miso for sale will be distributed in big cities instead of for private consumption

      In the Edo period, miso was basically consumed in-house, but in big cities such as Edo and Osaka, miso for sale is distributed as the population increases. Now.

      In Edo, which was the largest miso consuming area in Japan, in addition to the miso made in Edo, it was brought from the Kita-Kantou and Boso areas.

      Miso from various countries carried by kaisen also fascinated the tongue of the people of Edo.

      Miso wholesaler was involved in the sale of miso.

      In the Edo period, the products handled by wholesalers were strictly determined by the wholesaler brokerage system, and miso was one of them.

      Therefore, the miso wholesaler undertook the sale of miso in Edo regardless of the production area.

      It is recorded that there were more than 300 miso wholesalers in the 1700s.

      [Meiji / Taisho era] Indispensable even in a mix of Japanese and Western styles

      After the Taisei Hokan, Japan entered the Meiji era and became westernized at once.

      In terms of food culture, Western-style restaurants have opened in big cities, and omelets, curry rice, croquettes, etc. have begun to appear on the market.

      However, I still rarely eat Western food, and basically I ate Japanese food.

      Miso is indispensable for Japanese food.

      Miso has continued to be an indispensable ingredient for Japanese people even when Japanese and Western eclectic meals have become commonplace.

      In rural areas, most of the necessary protein was taken from miso dishes and miso soup made from homemade miso.

      Also in urban areas, miso, which has high nutritional value, is a hot ingredient and was purchased almost every day.

      [Showa period] Both the Army and Navy set up miso soup recipes in textbooks

      Entering the Meiji era, Japan also begins a war in order to line up with the Western powers among the wealthy soldiers.

      As it is said that "I can't fight if I'm hungry", miso with high nutritional value was very useful in the army.

      Both the Army and Navy developed their own textbooks and made miso soup .

      There was an interesting story about the Army, and the Army was also particular about how to make miso soup.

      It is better to grind powdered miso than to use ground miso.
      It is important to eat fresh miso soup.
      For that purpose, it is better to calculate the amount of water and miso in the pot in advance and avoid adjusting the love affair.
      It's okay to make it thicker and add hot water later, but it's not good to make it thinner and add miso later.
      Miso soup is best eaten warm, so be careful to serve it at 60 degrees or higher.

      [Heisei / Reiwa era] Japanese miso spreads around the world as "MISO"

      After the war, the generation raised by school lunch became more likely to prefer Western-style meals, and the preference changed from traditional Japanese food centered on Meihan to Western-style colors incorporating bread and meat.

      Along with that, the consumption of rice decreased, and at the same time, the consumption of miso also decreased.

      However, in recent years, Japanese food has been designated as a UNESCO World Intangible Cultural Property Heritage, and it has become clear that Japanese food is a healthy diet that is kind to the human body in terms of nutrition.

      Now that lifestyle-related diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are regarded as problems, Japanese food is beginning to be reviewed again.

      Exports to overseas are also increasing, and these trends will accelerate further in the future.

      We believe that Japanese miso will be accepted in the world and spread to the world as “MISO” .


      How was it?

      This time, I told you about the history of miso, going back from its origin.

      Isn't it possible to explain the history of miso to people?

      It turns out that miso has played a important role in people's lives at any time.

      Recently, with the development of science, the nutrients of miso have become visible and their importance has been reconsidered, but it is thought that people in the past intuitively understood the importance.

      Miso has survived to the present day not only because it is healthy, but also because it is highly preserved and delicious .

      In order to know the depth of miso, it is a good idea to try "Miso in front" where you make your own miso. .