“The inspiration of the track came chiefly from the sound of katsuobushi or dried and fermented bonito being shaved and the monologue of the lady explaining the complex process of creating pure umami and hence the title “All you need is umami". I wanted the piece to be non-disruptive, total musique d’ameublement, but with some harmonic, rhythmic and melodic "umami". Unbeknownst to whoever assigned me for creating the soundtrack for Ninben, not only is Ninben's "Tsuyu no moto" my family's go-to soup base, my mother's side of the family is [very, very] distantly related to the Ninben founder's family - an unbelievable coincidence! My great grandfather, Matsu, was born and raised in Higashi Ginza, behind the Kabuki theatre in the late 19th century. He was a kanzashi shokunin – or a hair-ornament craftsman.
One day, he saw a beautiful young girl in Nihonbashi - it was love at first sight. Sadly, it wasn’t quite the same for her - for she was, alas, blind. However, so was his love for her. Matsu saw her family and told them that he wanted to marry her. Her family was hesitant because, whereas they were a wealthy merchant family, he was just a poor young apprentice, a labourer. It's an insurmountable class-gap back in those days. Undeterred, Matsu was very insistent and, partially due to her disability, her family finally relented. This beautiful young blind lady was said to be related to the Ninben family. But the surprising element doesn't end there; according to my family legend, after marrying my great grandfather, my great grandmother regained her eyesight! This fairytale-isque love story took place over a century ago and no one that can verify the story is alive. It's a nice tale, nonetheless, and I could not resist sharing it with you. And this little family history was always on my mind when I composed and produced the soundtrack.” [Ken Nishikawa]