[Looking for nominations!] Intermediate Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: セーラー服と機関銃

もやしもん - Tales of Agriculture





The second son of a starter culture business, Soho Sawaki Naoho, has a special ability to see bacteria. He enters a certain agricultural college in Tokyo. Sawaki, the lab and other colleagues, and a campus life with or without fungi, set at Agricultural University. Moyashimon is a moratorium of university life and full of fungi. Please try it yourself.



Personal Opinion

I got turned on this by the Sake On Air Podcast. One of the hosts recommended this series as it had taught a lot about microbes and fermentation. I watched the Anime and drama and now I am making my way through the Mangas.

The Synopsis above isn’t actually that great, so here is mine.

Sawaki and his friend Kei turn up as first years at Tokyo Agricultural College. Sawaki is the second son of a mould started culture business supplying Koji to, among other businesses, his friend Kei’s family sake brewers. Sawaki has a secret power in that he can both see and talk to microbes as specially the friendly Aspergilus Orizae (koji) from his family home who hitch a ride to university on the miso his family sends. Sawaki and Kei join a seminar group on fermentation lead by professor Itsuki and Grad Student Hasegawa* and the fun ensues.

It’s a fun story with some real science behind it. The friendly Koji pop up in the margins to explain scientific points and there is some interesting stuff about fermentation and food culture interlaced within the text.

*Hasegawa, being framed, is subjected to the usual level of Japanese emanate sexism, in that despite being a scientist she is dressed in a bondage style minidress for the whole series this is explained as her rebelling against her father but it is stupid and thoroughly unsuitable for lab work.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Fun introduction to Fermentation
  • good series if you get into it
  • Anime version is pretty true to the books but doesn’t cover all of it.
  • Some very topical information about the spread of diseases among student populations later on
  • Popular enough to get an anime, a drama and some spin off books about infectious diseases


  • Usual level of sexism


First Three Pages of Chapter One

And Some more pages because the first few pages are in 'old guy talk'

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No Effort At All
  • Minimal Effort
  • Moderate Effort
  • Significant Effort
  • So Much Effort My Head Might Explode
  • I don’t know

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