Mountain climbing, which Kanemoto calls his hobby, is actually far from just a hobby. Last year, he attempted to reach the peak of Himalayas, which is 5,550m high. Two days before he reached the peak, he fell and was in severe pain but kept it to himself. He maintained his strong will, telling himself he would never give up, and managed to reach the peak. When he saw a doctor after returning to Japan, they discovered that he had two broken ribs.

 

Kanemoto had helped out in the restaurant since early childhood. During his teenage years, he also worked hard in the reconstruction efforts after World War II. His father, who dabbled in the black market and did everything he could to preserve his restaurant, was old-fashioned and always tough on him. From his mother, he learned how to operate a business by cherishing the customers.

 

Preserving a tradition comes with a great deal of responsibility, but times change. A business will struggle to survive if you don't work hard and rely on its name value. Kanemoto traveled to France and dined at every well-known restaurant. He devoted himself to adding new menu items, starting with wine. He also invested a great deal in training his employees. The owner, who would be in the kitchen, continued to pursue the ideal restaurant even before the concept of owner/chef had been established.

 

Hidden beneath his soft smile is his firm belief that each day is a challenge and he strives each day to satisfy his customers completely. No matter his age, taking the easy way out is not an option for this proud man.

Kanejiro Kanemoto

Kanemoto was born in Tokyo in 1928. In 1957, he inherited Nodaiwa; an unagi (eel) restaurant that was established during the Kansei era, as the fifth generation owner. In addition to the main restaurant in Iigura, Azabu, he has opened branches in three locations across Tokyo as well as one location in Paris. In 2007, Kanemoto was named as a contemporary master craftsman (awarded by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), making him the first unagi chef to receive the honor. Nodaiwa earned one star in the 2011 edition of the Michelin Guide Tokyo.

Cooperation: Editorial department for BE-PAL, Shogakukan Inc.

Spirit and Spine
‘Kitohone’

created by
THE SPIRIT AND SPINE
CREATIVE FORCE,Tokyo

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
photography
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
site design
ISUKE INC. and ICA
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)