A Story About the Origin of Kesennuma Kuwacha (Mulberry Tea): Blazing a New Path to the Future
by Mr. Norifumi Sato, President of Kesennuma Kuwacha (edited by Matcha Latte Media)
At 2:46 p.m. on March 11, 2011, my life changed forever.
Until that day, I owned a croquette store in the city of Kesennuma, one of the cities devastated by the earthquake and tsunami. As soon as I could recover from the initial shock, I ran to check on my wife and my mother, then led them to an evacuation shelter.
Then, I rushed around the town, instructing anyone and everyone to evacuate. When the tsunami hit, I barely managed to climb to safety in a nearby office building.
Great East Japan Earthquake
Magnitude: 9.0, Intensity: lower 6
The height of the tsunami when it reached my home was seven meters (23 feet).
Peering out from a small window in the office building I was in, all I could do was watch as my house was washed away.
After two long days, I was finally able to see my family again. Since our home had been destroyed, we had no choice but to live in a shelter for two months. It was terrible! Fortunately, we have now been moved to temporary housing, which is a great improvement. I have been chosen to be the head of this new community, and I make it my responsibility to develop a sense of community among the residents.
Reconstruction with Kuwacha!
Since I had lost my home and my livelihood, I was at a total loss of what to do next. An acquaintance of mine, a farmer, began to talk to me about the possibility of earning a living with Kuwacha.
I did lose my house and my own little store, but I DID NOT lose my family. For my family’s sake, as well as for my own, I thought this would be my last chance to possibly move forward, considering my age. So, I determined that through the Kuwa Cha business I would contribute to the reconstruction and recovery of our lives in Kesennuma.
The leaves of mulberry that are used for Kesennuma Kuwacha are grown chemical-free by contracted farmers in the Shishiori area in the city of Kesennuma, and in the town of Minamisanriku.
The tea leaves are plucked in the morning and refined, avoiding nutrient loss. The end product features a delicate sweetness and is deep green in color.