Keiichi Yoshino, a 34-year-old operator of chocolate shops in Kyoto, never dreamed he would become a chocolatier.

His epiphany came in a coffeehouse in South Korea in 2010. Looking at a map of global cocoa production areas, the former financial analyst wondered why Japan largely depends on Ghana for cocoa for its chocolate even though Indonesia, a fellow producer, is far closer.

He looked into it, and discovered from Japanese government data that Indonesia accounted for only 0.3 percent of Japan's cocoa bean imports in 2013, while 80.6 percent was shipped from Ghana.