Miso and Japanese

Miso, which is known as soybean paste to Westemers, has played an extremely important role
in the dietary life of the Japanese for centuries along with rice and barely.
It's said that miso came to Japan from China.

At first, femented food like miso was treasured as luxuries by Buddist monks and nobles.
But it became a daily necessity in the Nara Period(710-784).
Later in the Muromachi Period(1392-1573), it came to be a popular food of common people.
It was in the 17th century that industrial production of miso was started.

In the course of its development,
various kinds of miso native to different regions began to appear depending on the raw materials available,
weather and climate conditions, and the eating customs of each rigion.

As a result, a great variety of miso, such as "shiromiso" native to Kyoto, "hatchomiso" native to Aichi Prefecture
and its environs, and "Shinsyu miso" pruduced chiefly in Nagano Prefecture were created.
"Shinsyu miso" is most widely eaten today.

At present, there are about 1,600 miso-manufacturing plants in Japan,
and they produce about 560,000 tons of miso annually.
Most of this is consumed in Japan and only about 3,000 tons is exported.
Per-capita consumption of miso is about 4.9 kg.