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Sendai Gyu-tan History

〜Postwar Reconstruction Story Behind The Delicious Taste of Sendai Gyu-tan〜

佐野啓四郎氏
▲ The Progenitor of Gyutan Mr.Keisiro Sano

Sendai Gyu-tan history started after World War II. Exactly
in 1948, in period which symbolized the revival of Japan after World War II.

The original creator of Sendai Gyu-tan is Tasuke Restaurant's Chef Sano Keishiro. He used one of material from western food which is the beef tongue. After the numerous trials, He finally created the delicious grilled beef tongue which later named as “Yaki Gyu-tan” (Grilled Beef Tongue). After that, The “Yaki Gyu-tan” become one of menu item in that restaurant.
That was the beginning of Sendai Gyu-tan.

Yaki Gyu-tan” which later often called Gyu-tan is Sendai’s famous
food. Almost all people in Japan, when they are being asked about Sendai, The first thing they remember or say about Sendai is Sendai Gyu-tan. This time, [Sendai-Gyu-Town], explain all the true information about the history Sendai Gyu-tan from the original creator and people which are strongly related to it at the time it
was created.

 Invite all the friends, family and also colleague to try Sendai Gyu-tan. And also introduce Sendai Gyu-tan to all of them, so Sendai Gyu-tan could be well-known widely. They surely will become fan of Gyu-tan because it’s delicious taste.

 Please Enjoy..

(Photo has received a offer to photographer Mr. Chuuichi Nakajima. he have a number of award-winning, such as streets photograph of Sendai.)

Grilled Gyu-tan Birth Story

戦後復興の進まない焼け野原の東二番町通り
▲1bancho as burnt ruins that does not progress
of post-war reconstruction

Post-War Chaos Period

 Yaki Gyu-tan” was born around end 1940’s. At that time,
the condition of Japan generally and Sendai specifically, was still in reconstructing situation and still in chaos condition
because of World War II. Many Unemployed person, The lack of food, high criminal record, and many disaster such as building in fire etc. That was very troubled situation. Many wives from war victim opened restaurant in order to earn money.

 At that time, small and simple restaurant such as grilled chicken restaurant was very popular. In sendai, many grilled chicken restaurant was opened. The original creator Sano Keshirow as the chef at a grilled chicken specialize restaurant. After World War II, the security became worst, and lack of male worker. The drunken people and fights were everywhere. Because of that, one of war victim’s wife asked Mr. Sano's help to help her with her restaurant. At that time, she received shop’s name suggestion from a public health worker. The suggested name was Mr.Isshin tasuke. And then The name of restaurant was decided. the first word Isshin was omitted and only remain
tasuke. So finally the Restaurant name became Tasuke.


▲The fruit shop of the street in Sendai Station at 1956

Thing Which unable to imitate

 Because the lack of food at that time. Even it was said grilled chicken, in fact it was not only made from chicken. Other various ingredients such as pork, and beef also being mixed together and grilled.

A Japanese Chef Keshiro was thinking about something
which can’t be imitate by another restaurant.

 Something which is unique to himself

 That feeling grew stronger inside his heart and become his motivation to create something special that only
he can make it.


▲Alley around Sendai Station at 1956

Western Food Material (Beef Tongue)

 Keshiro was thinking hard at that time, and then he tried to discuss it with his best friend Ono, who had western restaurant.
 Several days later, he was proposed by his friend Ono,
whether He want to give it a try providing beef tongue menu at his restaurant. In Japanese food, beef tongue was unusual ingredient. So he was very curious how to make it become delicious in Japanese food. At that time, His friend Ono Suggested him to try the western style beef tongue
food (tanshichuu) at a western restaurant.

 After eating that food, he was really surprised at the taste. It was very good. He was very interested in beef tongue ingredient. But at time, there was another problem. tanshichuu is a kind of food which needs a long
time preparation. It takes 3-4 days to prepare it. For grilled food specialized restaurant, this kind of food is not suitable. At that time, He started doing some research how to make grilled beef tongue.

Gyutan set meal
▲Even now a long time ago not change .......

Rare ingredient, Grilled Beef Tongue's Birth

 When research started, there was a problem. Beef tongue was a very difficult ingredient. In Sendai, there weren’t any store which sells beef tongue. So He requested to some
slaughter house around tohoku region such as miyagi
prefecture and yamagata prefecture. After he can ensure
the stock of beef tongue, He continued doing his research.

He tried his best how to make his grilled beef tongue meets customer taste. He bought some beef tongues from Miyagi-prefecture and Yamagata-prefecture slaughter house. And
for each beef tongues, he made it into several slices. After
that, he requested customer to try grilled beef tongue and asked their opinion about its taste. He did this everyday in one week. He really worked hard.

 At first, He didn’t know how to peel the beef tongue skin. After several days work, He came up with an idea which become the current method. The method is lying in beef tongue in salt and then grills it. He did some
research about how thick the beef tongue should, slicing way, time to cook, amount of salt, the way to salt it, how to cook it, the fire, and all things after it finish, and all aspect about how to make it become delicious. He did these things alone.

 And after all of those had works, Sendai Gyu-tan was created for the first time.

False Rumour About Gyu-tan

There is a rumour about Sendai Gyu-tan. It is said that Sendai Gyu-tan was made from American army leftover beef. After some investigation, It was found that beef that was eaten by American army at that time, was imported from their mainland. But Sendai Gyu-tan wasn't made from imported beef;it was made from local beef.


▲Ichibancho street night at 1957

The Beef condition at that time

 In miyagi prefecture, Cows were only raised by rich farmer. Slaughter house in miyagi prefecture and yamagata prefecture only slaughtered around around 2-3 cows in a week.
And the beef tongue was used as soon as it became available. So it is not true that Sendai Gyu-tan used U.S. army leftovers beef tongue.

Story of President UMAAJI TASUKE

 The shop was closed on first Sunday, third Sunday and fifth Sunday. On weekdays, It collected all the beef tongue from several farms around miyagi prefecture and yamagata prefecture. Starting from early autumn in
1966 until august 1978, in one year, I can only take vacation on August 16th (Obon Holiday) and New year.

 So, It is not true that Sendai Gyu-tan originally was made from U.S. army leftovers beef tongue. It is just a false theory which came around as consequence of Sendai Gyu-tan became famous.

 Because of that interesting history, We expect when customers eat Sendai Gyu-tan, they can remember some historical events that makes the Gyu-tan's taste become more delicious.