[Kurogane Katapan]

There is bread that is hard like steel in Kitakyushu, Japan. The traditional confectionery "Kurogane Katapan (Katapan means hard bread)" was born in the Taisho era (1912-1926) from the Yahata Steel Works (now the Yahata district of Nippon Steel Corporation Kyushu Steel Mill), which was registered as a World Cultural Heritage as one of the Industrial Revolution Heritages of Meiji Japan. The product name "Kurogane" is Japanese, an old name for "steel." The package says, "Kurogane was developed by the government-run Yahata Steel Works in the Taisho era as a food for its employees, using unique ingredients and manufacturing methods. Please enjoy this hard bread with natural flavor and hometown comfort."

At the end of the Taisho era (1912-1926), heavy industry, especially the steel industry, began to develop and modernization accelerated in Japan. With the start of World War I in 1914, military demand for Europe increased and a steel manufacturing boom was underway. In order to support the plants that operated day and night, employees had to work long hours of physical labor. The employees were so exhausted that ordinary bread was not enough to nourish them. Kurogane Katapan was created to provide nutritional support. The employees would put the bread in the breast pocket of their work uniforms and nibble on it while they worked.

As much as I respect small animals that nibble on nuts, the real thing is really very hard until you bite off a piece. But don't worry. You can chew little by little. Once it is in your mouth, it is like a gentle, nostalgic cookie. The fact that each piece is not a perfect rectangle is also somewhat endearing.

It is not just "preserved food." It is a hard bread that was born from a desire to support each other, and it may have "softened" the hearts of many people for a long, long time.

Kurogane Katapan
Wakamatsu Showroom