Mr. Tofu—Yasuo Kumoda

I read Yasuo Kumoda’s autobiography, They Call ME “Mr. Tofu.”  That was a pretty interesting book. Kumoda created a spin-off company in the states from a Japanese major milk manufacturer, Morinaga. He started a tofu business from scratch in 1985. Soy products were regarded as a pet food at that time. Nobody cared about tofu. Even thieves who broke into their warehouse left without stealing anything! Rocky Aoki advised him that he should be a “walking billboard” himself. He had to be a tofu evangelist. Then, Kumoda challenged himself and became “Mr. Tofu.” He worked so hard to get recognition in the new market. Gradually, people stop calling tofu “soybean curd” and tofu appears in the Webster Dictionary. Finally, in 1999, some tofu was stolen from his warehouse. He showed dissatisfaction on the outside, but he was very happy on the inside…Now, tofu has become a popular health food and Kumoda received an award from the Japanese government this year. He managed to educate American customers from head to tofu…

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