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Memories of the Late Yoshitaro Amano (Japanese)

(Japanese) About Mr. Amano…let’s just say you can’t explain what an incredible person he was in just a word or two. If you ask what’s so incredible about him, the answer is everything. What he does. And his guts. His courage. And his intelligence. His human kindness. He was a person who had it all. That’s why it’s so difficult to answer when asked what kind of person he was. He was old when I met him…You know, coming here has been really…the reason I think I really came at the right time was that I was able to meet so many people. To meet Mr. Amano while he was still alive, and share many meals, and hear many stories. That has meant so very much to me.

And, you know, Mr. Amano…once we ate together after he’d had, I don’t know if it was a stroke or cerebral apoplexy, but he’d become somewhat incapacitated. Actually, he’d been stopped from drinking, but when his wife wasn’t looking, you know, he’d put pisco (a liquor distilled from grapes) in a flask. You know he’d take that, and when his wife stepped out for a minute, he’d put it in something called “chicha morada”, purple corn juice. He’d put the pisco in. Then he’d take a big swig and smile. It was really the face of a kid. And I’d think, “I want to be like this guy when I get older.” He was a man who’d seen a lot of things. He was a really pure person.

Date: April 18, 2007

Location: Lima, Peru

Interviewer: Ann Kaneko

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio

Toshiro Konishi was born on July 11, 1953, the fourth son of a long-established Japanese restaurant owner in Saito City, Miyazaki Prefecture. Having played in the kitchen from around the age of six, at 11-years-old, Konishi began helping out in the kitchen with other chef candidates. Then in 1971, at age 16, he headed to Tokyo and became a chef at the restaurant “Fumi”.

In 1974, he moved to Peru with Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, known in America, Japan, and elsewhere for his Japanese fusion cuisine at his restaurant, “Nobu”. After working at the Japanese restaurant “Matsuei” for ten years, he opened “Toshiro’s” and “Wako” in a Sheraton hotel in Lima. In 2002, he also became manager of “Sushi Bar Toshiro’s” in the San Isidro region.

Aside from running the restaurants, he taught at San Ignacio de Loyola University, participated in culinary festivals around the world, introduced innovative cuisine known as “Peruvian Fusion” (a mix of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines), and received numerous awards. In 2008 he became the first Japanese chef based in Latin America to receive the Japanese government’s Minister's Prize from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. (October 2009)

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