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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 10, 2012

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Chris Komai - ckomai@janm.org - 213-830-5648

YASUO KUMODA, KNOWN AS 'MR. TOFU', TO DISCUSS CHALLENGE OF POPULARIZING TOFU IN U.S.

Tateuchi Public Program Will Include Product Demonstration, Free Samples on March 17

Los Angeles

Yasuo Kumoda, whose autobiography is entitled They Call Me Mr. Tofu, will make a presentation on the challenges of convincing Americans on the health benefits of eating tofu at a free Tateuchi Public Programs set for the Japanese American National Museum on Saturday, March 17, beginning at 1 p.m. Besides the presentation, there will be a product demonstration and free samples will be provided.

Kumoda had started a spin-off company from the Japanese milk manufacturer Morinaga and brought its tofu products to the United States in 1985. What Kumoda discovered is that many Americans thought soybean products was only good for food for animals. As a health food product, tofu was so disrespected at the time that thieves literally broke into a warehouse and refused to take any of Kumoda’s tofu.

Unsure how to proceed, Kumoda received advice from Rocky Aoki, founder of the successful Benihana restaurant chain to become a walking billboard for his tofu products. Kumoda took this advice to heart and wore a sandwich board with his product logo on it while running a marathon. When he heard then-First Lady Hillary Clinton say on the radio that she wished her husband, President Bill Clinton, would eat tofu instead of fast food, Kumoda sent his tofu to the White House. Gradually, Kumoda’s tofu became more accepted, especially when individual consumers provided their own recipes for eating tofu in smoothies and mixtures.

This program is supported by Mutual Trading Company, Morinaga and Frec Food. The Tateuchi Public Program Series are organized in partnership between the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation and the Japanese American National Museum. This program will take place in the Tateuchi Democracy Forum and in the Democracy Lab.

 

 

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