Before any other Japanese company put down roots to produce soy sauce in the United States, there was Kikkoman. Today, as we know from the nori rolls we ate for lunch, soy flows like water throughout the country — with much thanks to the pioneering plant in Walworth, Wisconsin. It was a bold move on both countries’ parts to establish Kikkoman USA back in 1973, a monumental investment for the 400-year-old company. That’s a story worth telling.
“Everybody knows how diligent Japanese people are. And I think you find that with Midwestern people,” says Bill Nelson, the first manager of the Walworth plant. “When you see Harry Kashima [one of the first Kikkoman USA employees] you say arigato. ‘Thank you,'” says Art Anderson, who worked at the plant for 13 years.
Check out the trailer below, and watch the film — Make Haste Slowly — by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Lucy Walker on Kikkoman’s website beginning December 23. Take pride in your sushi condiment — these guys certainly do.
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