Shoyu Explained

Shoyu Explained

You can make a ton of different sauces out of soy. And they will all be called a… soy sauce in English. Even though they come from different countries and are made in rather distinct ways. But since this podcast is about Japanese culture, the only sauce I’m going to talk about is shoyu – the Japanese soy sauce.

This time I’ll look deep into the history of Japanese soy sauce, walk you through the process of making traditional Japanese shoyu and tell you all you need to know to pick the perfect bottle.


  • It all starts with soybeans
  • Hishio and where to find it
  • Kinzanji-miso and the birthplace of shoyu
  • Edo’s quest for locally made sauce
  • The success story of Kikkoman
  • Ersatz sauce and shoyu today
  • Making Japanese soy sauce
  • The five types of shoyu
  • BONUS: The Iconic Kikkoman Bottle

If you liked this episode, don’t forget to subscribe. Or maybe leave me a comment or buy me a coffee:

Now, I know you want to learn even more, but this time most of my sources were in Japanese and it was hard to pick something I could share with you. But here are the bits I found in English.


  • BEGIN Japanology S3E28 Soybeans
  • BEGIN Japanology S3E08 Soy Sauce

There are more episodes of Begin Japanology than there will ever be of Japan Explained and it’s great. To be honest this show was a great inspiration for me. Except that I always wanted to dig even deeper.

  • A couple of video showing the traditional process of making shoyu

Books I didn’t read

Only after releasing the episode I found two books I’d actually like to check out. But soy sauce is not my favourite reading topic, so I can’t promise I’d get to them soon enough. But anyway, here they are:

Talk to you soon. Bye!

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