Karasumi, a delicacy made by pickling mullet roe in salt, was named after Chinese ink because of the resemblance in shape. Takanoya store was founded in the third year of the Enpo Period, 1675. Takano is the thirteenth generation of his family to run the store, beginning to help with the family business when he was an elementary student.

 

After pickling with salt in a wooden cask, the ovaries containing the roe are gently kneaded one by one in fresh water to remove the salt, drained, and laid out on a board. They are put out to dry in the sun each morning and taken inside again every evening. Takano carries out this time-consuming and labor-intensive work every day, together with his wife, eldest son, and daughter-in-law. Of course, for the sake of hygiene, a part of the process is done using machines, unlike in the Edo Period. However, the key elements of the process are still carried out painstakingly by hand, just as they were in the past.

 

The store’s reputation has been maintained for so long because the finished taste is always the same, regardless of fluctuations in sunlight hours, temperature, and humidity. Takano continues to fulfil this responsibility shouldered by each proprietor in turn over the centuries. Precisely for this reason, his product remains highly acclaimed and trusted as a luxury food, as well as a valued gift.

 

During wartime, business had to cease temporarily due to economic controls and forced evacuation of the store. The dropping of the atomic bomb turned the streets of Nagasaki into ruins. Takanoya, too, lost much of the stock which had been passed down for generations. During the hard times after the war, Takano’s father drew support in his struggle to restore the business from orders received from longtime clients around the country. The taste and reputation which have been preserved to this day are imbued with the gratitude and pride of the makers.

Masaaki Takano

Born in Nagasaki in Showa 9 (1934) in Nagasaki City. Chair of the Nagasaki Shinise Group, made up of Nagasaki commercial establishments founded at least 100 years ago. His product was awarded the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry’s Prize at the 51st Nagasaki Prefecture Processed Seafood Promotion Festival in 2013, and is also certified as a Heisei Nagasaki Luxury Marine Product according to the standards established by Nagasaki Prefecture.

Cooperation: Makoto Matsumoto, Chair, Nagasaki North Ethics Corporation

Translation: Media Research, 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)