Natto Boys (Natto Danshi) are a group whose sole purpose is to share the ancient and traditional Japanese food natto with the world. However, with its acrid smell and texture of an alien autopsy subject, those are some high hopes.

Already in about half a year, the Natto Boys have established a website featuring over 100 serving suggestions for the fermented soy beans to help promote the food at home. Now, they want to take the next step into the world’s second largest continent, Africa, and to do this they have turned to us for help via crowdfunding.

Despite what you might think, Natto Boys are not affiliated with the fat-cats of the natto industry in Japan at all. They are just a group of young professionals with a shared love of slimy beans loaded with nutrients.

As described on their crowd sourcing page Natto Boys started in very much a similar way to Fight Club with a bunch of white collar guys tired of their mediocre workaday lives. One day during a commiseration session late last year one of them suggested focusing their energies on a passion, and that passion was natto.

From those humble beginnings they have grown into a seven-strong group including a teacher, salesperson, web designer and even an engineer form the Côte d’Ivoire. They have been involved in sharing natto recipes and natto events such as this eating contest. Unless you’ve had first-hand experience with the scent and feel of natto yourself this probably doesn’t look so bad.

Now, it seems the time has come for Natto Boys to embark on their biggest quest ever into the heart of Africa starting with Tanzania. Their current crowdfunding campaign aims to gather enough money to set up a booth at the Dar es Salaam International Commercial Festival next month. Once in the hands of locals, they should instantly fall in love with the pungent dish…right?

The reason Africa was targeted was threefold: First, they claim that natto has already gained footholds in other continents but hardly at all in the world’s second most populous. Second, they say that natto may be well received as certain countries already have fermented foods with strong odors or slimy textures such as okra. Finally, Natto Boys are also interested in establishing a charity by which purchases of natto in Japan will go towards projects such as schools and hospitals in needed areas.

However, their overarching strategy is to nurture a shared culinary culture among Japan and the cultures inside Africa and ultimately beyond. As the Natto Boys say, “Natto is love,” and so far supporters have shown their love to the tune of 431,000 yen (US$3,500) but still shy of the 1,000,000 yen ($8,100) target with only seven days remaining at the time of this writing.

So if you want to help spread the stringy love of natto around the world stop by the link below and make a pledge.

Natto Boys Crowdfunding Page

Source: Natto DanshiMakuake via Japaaan (Japanese)
Images: Natto Danshi, Makuake, RocketNews24
Video: Danshi Natto