What is “Sake brewing” for Japan traditional dakushu research association?
Starting with establishing the Kikisake-shi qualification system, I have set up SOC and Sake Export Organization.
By utilizing these experiences, I have been actively promoting Japanese sake overseas for over 30 years.
Additionally, overseas expansion of qualification exam and seminar of Kikisake-shi has been progressed with Katsumi Kimura and Shinya Tasaki, found members of SSI (Sake service institute).
Furthermore, We have made new suggestions on how to drink each of the four types of sake(Kun-shu, Sou-shu, Jun-shu, and Juku-shu) and how to pair them with food by asking the guidance of many of our predecessors and advisors, including Mr.Ito from Dai-Shichi Sake Brewery in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima, Mr. Kobayashi from Suehiro Sake Brewery in Aizu, Fukushima and Mr. Yoshizawa from the Brewing Research Institute. However, despite these efforts, the reputation of Japanese sake has not been improved significantly.
I wonder why.
To find out the reason, I enrolled in a graduate program at Rikkyo University. Under the guidance of Professor Masato Kamekawa, I focused on the aspect of sake as a regulated industry, based on data and documents received from late Atsushi Takahashi, to figure out the reason. (2015, Keiji Migita, Industrial characteristics, and Management Innovation as a Regulated Industry~A Management History Research of the Sake Manufacturing Industry)
In writing the paper, I realized my insufficient research mistake and thought about the fundamental question of “what is real sake?”
Compared to another brewage, I realized the possibility of interference from the economic group and lack of information disclosure in a real sense to consumers.
“I have to go back to the start.”
With this feeling, I decided to research dakushu, the original Japanse sake.
After returning to my hometown in Yamaguchi three years ago, I obtained a special dakushu zone and a license and started making dakushu with my fellow. In other words, I stepped into the world of players and left the role of referee and promoter.
I have been amazed by how fun sake brewing is and how delicious the resulting dakushu is through trial and error. I am more convinced that this fun and delightful taste is the origin of sake.
I wrote the essay to help understand “real sake” as the last chapter of my life with sake. I apologize for my lack of study and mistakes in the past; I summarized knowledge and understanding of “real sake” in this essay. I hope you can enjoy reading it.
1.History of Sake Brewing
Since ancient times, Japanese sake has been dakushu originally. Improvement of dakushu was brought by continuous effort such as grinding and straining to make it easier to drink. Dakushu is attractive as fermented products which have taken root in people’s lives. We should remember that dakushu is a drink that everyone can enjoy, from children to the elderly, even those who cannot drink alcohol.
2.Japanese Sake as a Tax Sources
During the Meiji and Showa eras, Sake became a source of tax revenue to prosecute a war. Then the time indifferent about the method of sake brewing came.
In this era, people thought “As long as it made people drank, the content does not matter.” At the same time, government thought “tax can be collected if the drink is alcoholic.” As a result, synthetic Sake, which does not use even a grain of rice, was developed.
This was the beginning of an era in which fake Sake drove out genuine Sake.
3.The Crisis of Japanese Sake
Even after the Pacific War, Sake full of additives appeared on the market by following mass consumption. It was an “instigation business” misusing the name of Sake. Although alcohol tax law exists to secure tax revenue, there is still no law regarding sake brewing as Japanese culture.
4.Japanese and Sake
The majority of Japanese people are believed to lack enzymes breaking down alcohol. The body will not accept the naturally brewed Sake after a certain amount, but this normal reaction will not occur in the case of mixed Sake with distilled alcohol.
5.Protection of Sake Brewing as a Traditional culture
It is internationally inconsiderate to label brewed Sake and mix Sake as the same Japanese sake. For Sake to be acknowledged as international level alcohol, the label separation is a minimum rule required.
6.Revival of Traditional Japanese Sake and Muddled Sake
A necessary step in enhancing the reputation of Sake as traditional culture is to rediscover its regional characteristics. The brewery should use each climate, local water, lactobacillus, koji mold, and yeast to grow rice. These sake brewing, which utilize the blessings of nature, is the only way of producing traditional Sake.
7. Necessity of system of appellation of origin and certificate of origin
It is widely known that a strict system of appellation of origin has already been introduced for wine. If the tastes of alcohols made in different places are the same, the appellation of origin system is not required. The system is necessary to protect Sake as a traditional culture and source of pride in each region.
8.From Alcohol Manufacturing to Alcohol Education and Instruction
Breweries in various regions educate many prospective applicants on obtaining sake brewing licenses and brewing dakushu.These efforts are helping to foster diversity of local sake culture and improve the value of high-quality sake produced by the breweries.
9.Aiming for the Japanese Sake as World class alcohol
~Towards a Glocal Sake~
To open up the future of sake, we must first abandon the illusion of mass production and mass consumption.
It is also essential to properly separate brewed sake from mixed sake and create a framework where brewed sake =sake and mixed sake = sake.
For instance, like wine and sherry in Spain, both can become world-class alcohol by separating them.
The brewery should sell small quantities of a wide variety of sake with high added value rooted in the local climate for the right price. I am convinced that this is the way connecting to the future of Japanese sake.