Samurai and Miso
In Japan, many love the history of civil war period which lasted about a hundred years from the 15th century to the 16th century.
Because Samurai played their roles most vividly during this period.
Their stoic lifestyle always attracts many Japanese.
Confronting life or death matters, they were disciplined to put honour before death.
“The way of Samurais is found in death”.
By the way, do you know Miso played a very important role in making “Samurai”?
Its high nutritional value always gave them vitality to fight.
Let me show you an inseparable bond between Samurai and Miso.
1. Takeda Shingen
I’d like to start the story of Samurai and Miso with Takeda Shingen.
Because the reason why he stuck to Miso fabrication was far more serious than the other two.
It was the lack of salt.
Although Japan is an island country, his territory (today’s Yamanashi and Nagano prefecture) did not face the sea.
As a result, salt which was precious at that time was far more precious here than in other regions.
The best way to preserve salt is to keep it in the protein .
That is to say, making Miso using precious salt.
Before the time this effect was scientifically testified, Takeda Shingen fully understood this mechanism.
How did he realize his Miso making projects?
Firstly, he encouraged the farmers on the roadside of his military expeditions to cultivate soybeans and produce Miso.
Then, he always bought them at fairly handsome prices.
Maybe this is one of the reasons why he is still popular especially in the regions he used to govern.
In fact, this project brought him not only victories in wars, but also an industry in his territory which was called Kai (today’s Yamanashi and Nagano prefecture).
2. Date Masamune
Next Samurai is Date Masamune
He is well known for his huge storehouses of Miso (Miso- gura).
As well as Shingen, he always bought a quantity of Miso from farmers and merchants.
It was mainly to prepare for the wars. Thanks to Miso of good quality in abundance, samurais following Masamune always fighted very bravely.
Thus, he formed a very strong army.
Unfortunately, he did not succeed in unifying the country (another Miso lover, Ieyasu, fulfilled it).
But the system Masamune established to gather Miso from all over his territory brought a big business to his descendants.
Later, they sold Miso to Edo (today’s Tokyo) in good quantity and earned huge amounts of money.
Incidentally, he governed the region of today’s Miyagi prefecture.
3. Tokugawa Ieyasu
Third Samurai is Tokugawa Ieyasu.
He is also known as a great Miso lover and he always encouraged his vassals to eat a lot of Miso.
For instance, when he invited guests, including aristocrats of high rank, he served quite often a series of dishes cooked with Miso.
Likewise, among the offerings from feudal lords, Ieyasu’s most favorite was the meat pickled with Miso.
As a side note, at that time, samurais ate meat frequently. But gradually they began to avoid eating it under the influence of Buddhism.
Ieyasu and Shizuoka
No one doubt that Tokugawa Ieyasu is a history maker in Japan. Without him, Japanese history must have become totally different.
He completely ended the civil war period which lasted from the end of 15th century to the end of the 16th and established Tokugawa Shogunate in Edo (today’s Tokyo).
Surprisingly, this Shogunate lasted for around 260 years (1603-1867).
Although he was born in Okazaki (today’s Aichi prefecture), he spent quite a long time in the Shizuoka prefecture.
From the age of 6 to 17, he lived in Sumpu (today’s Shizuoka city) as a hostage.
After going back to Okazaki, he governed there as a feudal lord for several years.
Then he constructed his castle at Hamamatsu and Sumpu (both in Shizuoka prefecture).
In 1607, he handed the Shogun status to his son Hidetada and moved again to Sumpu.
In Sumpu, he stayed until his death in 1616.