Reborn-Art Festival


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Reborn-Art ONLINE

Hisayuki Ito (Chef, Vin et cuisine Hihihi)



Autumn Game Call Hunting and Chefs Who Transform Deer Meat.
Part 3 : Hisayuki Ito (Chef, Vin et cuisine Hihihi)


Restaurant chefs working in Miyagi Prefecture often gather at FERMENTO, a facility in Kozumi for butchering hunted deer and processing the venison, to learn and deepen their knowledge about the current state of mountain ecosystems on the Oshika Peninsula. Activities such as arranging the environment around the facility and experiencing the process of cutting up deer meat are great opportunities for the chefs to get to know the background to the meat they handle when cooking. These chefs, who are willing to offer help in such laborious tasks as cleaning up the mountains, even if it means giving up their days off, are trusted and bosom friends for Onodera, who works at FERMENTO alone. It was at one of these gatherings in summer last year where I first met the chef Ito. I met him on several more times at FERMENTO, but on this occasion, I visited his restaurant Hihihi in Sendai for the first time. I was very curious about how Onodera’s deer meat is cooked locally in Sendai.

On that day, Onodera also came from Kozumi to visit the restaurant, and the two of them caught up on each other’s lives in the brief time right before the restaurant opened. Their conversation took a lively turn especially because we can’t visit and see each other nowadays due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When talking to me before Onodera arrived at the restaurant, the chef Ito said, “I think I’ve finally come to understand Onodera’s thinking these days.”

“While working as a deer hunter and running a facility for processing venison, Onodera also organizes different activities with the aim of regenerating the forest. What he is trying to do is full of challenges . . . As someone who works with food, I also want to know and learn more about the forests whose resources are declining due to the impact of human activities, and do something about this. As Onodera confronts something as big as nature on a daily basis, he knows how to steel himself. I’m exploring how to incorporate various lessons I’ve learned from the forest into cooking.” What does “steel himself,” as Ito said, mean? It means making decisions and moving forward by looking at and listening to nature, which is the message Ito has received as he has witnessed and felt from close by how Onodera works there.

Chef Ito cooked civet of venison short ribs that day, a seductive dish where venison is simmered in red wine, herbs, and deer stock for many hours. There is imbalance between popular venison cuts, which are in demand, and other cuts, which tend to remain unsold, meaning the ribs are relatively prone to go unsold. As it’s a tasty part that changes greatly depending on how it’s prepared, not to utilize and cook it is a waste.

I was blown away by this dish, especially how the fat, so light it seemed almost to melt, combined with the tenderly textured meat to spread out all around my mouth. In contrast to the depth of the taste, the sauce was light—just salty enough and not at all heavy. Suzuki, who is in charge of table service and is well versed in wine, chose a red for me. “For a dish reminiscent of the mountains and seas, wine grown in a similar environment is suitable,” Suzuki said. And what a delightful pairing it was! The dish I had at Hihihi was the very definition of delicious restaurant cuisine.





Photographer Yayoi Arimoto, who travels around the world capturing the varied beauty within the cultural background of food, clothing and shelter in different areas, and hunter Nozomu Onodera, who is engaged in curtailing harmful overpopulation of Japanese shika deer on the Oshika Peninsula as well as hunting, gathering, and public outreach regarding food sources, have collaborated on a project for the Reborn-Art Festival. Based at FERMENTO, which processes the deer and delivers the natural blessings of the Oshika Peninsula, the project documents Onodera’s way of life, which entails entering the hills, picking wild plants, pursuing wild animals, and living on the fruits of these activities.

Yayoi Arimoto
Born in 1970 in Tokyo. Published photo collections include Magical Transit Days (Artbeat Publishers), BEASTS OF MINE (Seigensha Art Publishing, Inc.), and The Man Who Carves Bears (Shogakukan).

Nozomu Onodera
Born in 1967, Kesennuma, Miyagi. Lives and works in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi. Member of the Miyagi Prefectural Hunting Club, Ishinomaki branch, and is active under the moniker Antler Crafts. Onodera has been involved with the Reborn-Art Festival since 2017 and manages FERMENTO.


Autumn Game Call Hunting and Chefs Who Transform Deer Meat


Now available online





Reborn-Art Festival 2021-22
— Altruism and Fluidity —

【 Period 】

ONLINE : Jan 6 (Wed) 2021 -
SUMMER : Aug 11 (Wed/holi) 2021 - Sep 26(Sun) 2021
SPRING : Aip 23(Sat)2022 - Jun 5(Sun)2022
※ There will be a maintenance day during the session.

【 Venue 】

ー Summer ー
Central Ishinomaki
Oshika peninsula(Momonoura、Oginohama、kozumihama、Ayukawa、and more...)

ー Spring ー

【 Organizers 】

Reborn-Art Festival Executive Committee,
ap bank

【 Grants 】

the Agency for Cultural Affairs Government of Japan in the fiscal 2021

【 Translation 】
hanare × Social Kitchen Translation

【 Web direction 】