The history of Kikkoman began when the Mogi and Takanashi families began soy sauce production along the Edo River in Noda, a small city located not far from Tokyo. For more than three centuries, the company formed by these families has created delicious, all-natural seasonings that have won prizes worldwide, including honours at the 1873 Vienna World’s Fair and the distinctive position as the official sauces for the Japanese imperial household for many years.
Yet the name Kikkoman means more than just superior soy sauce. According to Japanese folklore, the tortoise lives for 10,000 years and thus is a symbol of longevity – what every company hopes for. Therefore, kikko, which means tortoise shell in Japanese, and man, meaning 10,000, were chosen first as the trademark for the Mogi’s best soy sauce and later as the company name. The hexagonal logo found on Kikkoman products represents a tortoise shell with the Chinese character for 10,000 inscribed inside. More than 250 years after their ancestors began soy sauce production, in 1917 the Mogi and Takanashi families incorporated as Noda Shoyu Co., Ltd. The company’s name was changed to Kikkoman Shoyu Co., Ltd. in 1964, and again in 1980 to Kikkoman Corporation.
Although soy sauce is still produced in Noda and remains Kikkoman’s leading product, Kikkoman today represents much more than soy sauce and has expanded far beyond the banks of the Edo River. Kikkoman Soy Sauce is now produced in the United States, Europe, Singapore, Taiwan and China as well.
To learn more about the history of soy sauce visit the Kikkoman Soy Sauce Museum.