We import ‘Tane Koji‘ ‘Koji kin‘ from ‘Kawachi Genichiro Shoten’ in Kagoshima, Japan to Australia
There exist 5 Koji spore companies across Japan today.
THE TANE KOJI COMPANY : KAWACHI GENICHIRO SHOTEN
in Kagoshima , JAPAN
‘Kawachi Genichiro Shoten’ is the only one licensed Tane-Koji maker in Kyushu area.
When we say “Koji”(Koji-kin or Tane-Koji, the spore) , a lot of the time we mean 黄麹“Aspergillus oryzae” with which Japanese people have made Sake, Miso, Amazake, Shoyu (soy sauce), Mirin and some more types of condiments / seasonings over thousands of years. Although actually there are other types of Aspergillus have been found and studied.
Most significant discovery was done by Genichiro Kawachi 河内源一郎 (1883-1948) in 1910 in Kagoshima, Japan, he successfully separated 黒麹 “Aspergillus luchuensis var. awamori” while he was studying Awamori 泡盛, the alcoholic beverage indigenous and unique to Okinawa, Japan. Okinawa is the southernmost prefecture of Japan, which developed its own unique culture through trading with other Asian countries such as Thailand and China from ancient times.
Kawachi then discovered and introduced methods to make Shochu 焼酎 by using this spore. His incredible accomplishments were not limited to this finding but also in 1924, he succeeded in discovering a mutation variety of Aspergillus luchuensis var. awamori, that is 白麹 “Aspergillus luchuensis mut. kawachii“ named after him. This type of spore enabled people to make more variety of Shochu more accessibly, and also was brought to Korea by one of his pupil, then, spread across Korea to make Makgeolli.
Thus Genichiro Kawachi has been called “God of Koji“ and “Father of Shochu“ in Japan.
We proudly and officially import Tane-Koji (Ki Koji ; Aspergillus oryzae ) and (Shiro Koji ; Aspergillus luchuensis mut. kawachii) from Kawachi Genichiro Shoten to distribute in Australia.
NOTES REGARDING THE STORAGE AND HANDLING OF KOJI SPORES:
Avoid moisture. Once opened, keep it in an air-tight container or bag, preferably with a desiccant, and store it in a cool place or in the vegetable compartment of the fridge.
Please do not grow koji to propagate them. The propagation requires specialist skills. Koji makers developed the technique through their long history of operation. If you try to propagate them, the functions (each koji starters have been selectively bred to make them fit-for-purpose) and most importantly the safety can’t be guaranteed.
Koji fermentation is different to that of Kombucha making where Scoby is used to produce the next batch. In Koji making, the Tane-Koji (the starter spore) is used to produce each batch of Koji grains.
Koji being multinuclear cells, when repeatedly subcultured it becomes diploid / triploid cells which rapidly weakens active enzymes. This is why in Japan, companies specializing in making Koji spores have existed for hundreds of years.
The production of Koji spores requires sensitive and dedicated technics. Tane-Koji manufacturers in Japan have cultivated specialized technics acquired through countless trial and error. They are able to purely separate the Koji spores that have the most active enzymes and thereby expanding those cultures. This is also why in Japan, people have been able to produce a variety of Koji fermented products such as Miso, Sake, Shoyu and Shochu with stability in quality throughout history.
Koji is a type of mold and as we know some molds can be toxic to humans. When Koji is made without enough knowledge and skills, it can become contaminated with toxic molds. In addition, in countries outside of Japan, a type of mold called “Aspergillus Flavas” which produces strongest toxin Aflatoxin is prevalent.
This is why, when batches of Koji are made repeatedly from “Tomo-dane” (propagation), it will eventually create something that may look similar on the outside yet essentially completely different. It has the potential of poisoning people.