WALWORTH, Wis. — Fifty years ago, with the opening of Kikkoman Foods Inc., a farm field in southern Wisconsin was transformed into what has now become the highest-producing soy sauce facility in the world.
On Friday, the state of Wisconsin recognized "Kikkoman Day," marking the golden anniversary of the plant opening in Walworth. The proclamation also celebrates the company's positive impact on the partnership between Wisconsin and Japan, and its contributions of more than $17 million to charitable causes in the local community and beyond.
At its anniversary events, the Kikkoman Foods Inc. Foundation presented $5 million in support of sustainable agriculture and freshwater studies. The foundation's donation includes $3 million for the University of Wisconsin-Madison's College of Agricultural & Life Sciences and $2 million for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Freshwater Science, with both donations supporting research that will contribute to protecting the very resources that initially drew the world's leading soy sauce producer to Wisconsin.
"Kikkoman is pleased to invest in a state that has become a second home to our company," said Yuzaburo Mogi, honorary chief executive officer and chairman of the board of Kikkoman Corp. "We believe that for a company to thrive over the long run, coexistence and co-prosperity with society, and especially the local community, are essential. The time-honored traditional brewing process for soy sauce uses just four simple ingredients: water, soybeans, wheat, and salt. Through the donations to these two leading research programs, we're providing meaningful benefit to the region, and world, by helping to ensure the sustainability of agricultural systems and natural resources that contribute to producing soy sauce into the future."
The Walworth plant, which began producing soy sauce in 1973, made history by being one of the first production facilities built in the United States by a Japanese company. Since arriving in Wisconsin, Kikkoman forged partnerships and friendships within the local community, finding and celebrating shared cultural values like hard work, respect, cooperation and a commitment to excellence. With these values as its foundation, Kikkoman Foods, Inc. grew to become the cornerstone of Kikkoman's international business, now producing 30 times more product annually than in its first year.
"The state of Wisconsin is proud to join Kikkoman Corporation in celebrating a half-century of business in the state with the proclamation of June 9 as Kikkoman Day," announced Gov. Tony Evers. "From a deep commitment to promoting collaboration and understanding between our state and Japan to its countless contributions in support of charitable causes over the years, we thank Kikkoman Corporation for its impact on the state and wish them many more years of success in Wisconsin."
These announcements were shared at a press conference preceding the Wisconsin-U.S.-Japan Economic Development Conference held in conjunction with the company's anniversary celebration at the Grand Geneva Resort & Spa in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. UW-Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation are co-sponsors of the conference, which is focused on fostering sustained global economic growth in an Era of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity. Conference discussions are being led by preeminent business and political leaders from Japan and the United States, including Gov. Evers.
"As we celebrate the anniversary of Kikkoman Foods Inc. and 50 years of brewing soy sauce in the United States, I want to profess my profound gratitude for the people of Wisconsin whose partnership and support have made every accomplishment over the years possible," Mogi said. "We're looking forward to the next 50 years of friendship and continued growth in our pursuit to make Kikkoman Soy Sauce a truly global seasoning."