Women who shine for our future #13

Kumiko Oda, Director at Vineyard Co. Ltd

Connecting consumers with Yamanashi producers using an outsider's perspective and IT skills

Kumiko Oda founded and currently operates the online store Kaikoku Monogatari to offer a taste of Yamanashi's delicious fruits to more people. Her initiative which takes part in LUMINE’s new project LUMINE AGRI MARCHE, has connected producers to consumers as well as famous pastry houses in Tokyo.

“I was actually born and raised in Yokohama. During my time working as a computer instructor in a corporation, the Internet was still in its early stages, but I started an online store as a side business.”

At the age of 26, Oda moved to Yamanashi for her husband's work. Curious and energetic Oda explains, “The excitement to see a new world was bigger than the anxiety to leave the city.” Oda eventually resonated with the desire of young farmers in the neighborhood hoping to "find a new sales channel without relying on agricultural cooperatives" and decided to start her current work.

“With long daylight hours and significant temperature differences between day and night, Yamanashi is the perfect land for cultivating fruits. I can not forget the time I first tasted freshly picked grapes and peaches. I wanted to share that delicious taste with people around the country.”

Kaikoku Monogatari launched in 2006. While Oda did face challenges as a woman and an outsider entering the world of agriculture, she was dedicated to build a strong network of relationships which now includes close to 70 farms.

“There is a lot of value in the passion of the producers, as well as the details which local people often overlook and therefore never publicize. These just need a little added sparkle to make them appeal. As an outsider, I am able to do so and feel it is my mission to continue this path.”

Kumiko Oda was born in 1974. While raising two children, she serves as the Director of Vineyard Co. Ltd. She operates Kaikoku Monogatari online in Rakuten Market, with her motto of “providing one-of-a-kind items with elements of surprise and excitement.”

2. A thick peach juice made with Yamanashi peaches
3. Other items include celery, corn and jam made with Yamanashi black rice
4. Kaikoku Raisin Sandwiches, filled with white chocolate butter cream and raisins soaked in local rum and sake
5. Grape vineyards of Katsunuma, Koshu City, Yamanashi Prefecture

Kaikoku Monogatari also opened in LUMINE AGRI MARCHE (top photo) which is part of LUMINE Agri Project, an initiative that connects city people with crops by offering encounters with food as well as learning opportunities. Held occasionally at JR Shinjuku station’s New South Gate.

For more information, go to www.lumine.ne.jp/agri.