Hiroshima Ekiben is Packed with "The Essence of Hiroshima!"
The Shamoji Kakimeshi, one of the most popular ekiben, has been loved for over 40 years, and has been recognized as the present "The Hiroshima Brand." Since the container is made in the shape of a shamoji (rice spoon), the Miyajima specialty, it is considered a good-luck bento, making it very popular. The Shamoji Kakimeshi bento is representative of the kind of bentos that Hiroshima Ekiben makes. In addition to filling their bentos with ingredients that are "the essence of Hiroshima," they also fill them with hometown dishes and culture that can only be found in Hiroshima as well.
The Great Hanshin Earthquake, and the Crossroads
As the popularity of ekiben grew, the company charged on! Though the future looked bright, there was a sudden giant shock. In 1995, the Great Hanshin Earthquake struck. Tremendous damage was caused to Western Japan, mostly in Hyogo Prefecture. This disaster caused a complete shutdown of the transportation system. Ekiben sales dropped dramatically.
What Must Change, and What Must Not
In consideration of the 100 years since the company's founding, the man who had assumed the presidency, Kazuo Nakajima (current president), was faced with an unprecedented crisis, and had to make an important decision. Rather than just focusing on ekiben and meals for special events, he decided to "take on the market for three meals a day, 365 days a year, 1,095 meals annually." The company entered the prepared foods shop and delivery businesses, which had been unknown territory for them until then. By making the most of the knowhow acquired from more than 100 years of making delicious, safe and reassuring bentos, and adding their own unique innovation, they have succeeded.