New monthly paper promotes miso for young women

New monthly paper promotes miso for young women
Editor Tomoko Fujimoto holds an issue of Japan Miso Press.

Japan Miso Press was launched this spring as a monthly paper to help promote consumption of miso fermented soybean paste from the viewpoint of young women.

"Miso is delicious. It's also good for our health and beauty," said the paper's chief editor Tomoko Fujimoto, 29. "We want to make miso better known among young people, and people overseas, taking advantage of the registration of Japanese cuisine last year in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List."

The eight-page, full-colour paper is written in Japanese and has English abstracts for all articles.

Fujimoto is a member of Miso Girl, a group of young women who like miso and play a major role in editing the paper.

"Discovery: Everybody likes miso soup!" The cover of the paper's June issue carries this headline for a feature story based on Miso Girl members' interviews with 100 young people about their thoughts about miso soup.

Aimed at women in their late teens to 30s, the paper was launched in March by 30ans Newspaper Co., a company in Yokohama led by Fujimoto's mother, Yuko, that publishes papers and holds seminars about child rearing.

Fujimoto began suffering from rough, dry skin in her early 20s when she worked as an apparel shop clerk in Shibuya, Tokyo, and an amateur fashion model for magazines. Taking medicines prescribed at dermatology clinics and supplements had little effect.

She read medical books and was shocked to learn that the problem stemmed from eating fast food and the bento lunches sold at convenience stores every day, and could even affect pregnancy and childbirth.

In 2011, she became acquainted with Hiromitsu Watanabe, a professor emeritus of Hiroshima University who researches the effects of miso in preventing cancer and high blood pressure.

Watanabe told Fujimoto to have two bowls of miso soup a day, as miso is a Japanese traditional dietary supplement. She began consuming a sufficient amount of miso and her skin problem disappeared in a year as a direct result.

After becoming aware that miso is tasty and versatile, she set up Miso Girl and invited people to join as members. The group began promoting miso by appearing in events and through other promotional measures.

Fujimoto also studied miso formally by auditing lectures at Tokyo University of Agriculture's Department of Fermentation Science and acquired a private qualification as a miso sommelier.

She now keeps about 50 types of miso in her refrigerator at home and makes her own blend every day.

Her daily diet led to the creation of misomaru, a handmade miso ball containing other ingredients as well, as a way to make miso soup quickly. It was introduced in the first edition of the paper and received many good responses.

"Miso is old and new," Fujimoto said. "As the most enthusiastic miso fan, I want readers of the paper to feel like eating miso as soon as they read it."

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