Sake Nation “A new way to promote Japanese sake combines a live-stream (two-dimensional) event with an in-person tasting (three-dimensional) event: Pa

By Kosuke Kuji

A new way to promote Japanese sake fusing a 2-dimensional live-stream with a 3-dimensional in-person event requires us real-world sake brewers to first jump into the 2-dimensional world of Vtubers (virtual YouTubers). 

Vtubers and sake brewers entered the same world via Zoom to participate in a virtual sake brewery tour and sake tasting event. 

Viewers who enjoy sake in the 3-dimensional real world and others who enjoy interacting in the 2-dimensional digital world discussed Ginjo together in the same screen, indicative of endless possibilities for future collaboration.  

Further, this collaboration with Vtubers produced an illustration by the Vtubers used on the sake label, printed onto sake cups to create limited-edition merchandise for this event. These merchandise were a huge hit, sold out on the e-commerce platform mercari, thanks to online viewers who never purchased Japanese sake before. The 2-dimesional world fused with the 3-dimensional world for Vtubers, who enjoyed a live event from the comfort of their home as they enjoyed sake during this exclusive collaboration.  

Lastly, the “Enjoy Ginjo Fair” was held at the Hotel Metropolitan Tokyo Ikebukuro in late September. Here, Vtuber Yuzuru Himesaki participated by video in the digital 2-dimensional world, while sake breweries participated in the 3-dimensional real world, and performed the ritual of breaking open a ceremonial sake barrel. Here, the 2-dimensional digital world fused into this 3-dimensional in-person event. 

In this way, traditional Japanese industries like sake breweries jumped into a new world using the latest cutting-edge IT technology, a truly fruitful collaboration and experience. 

I hope this fusion of two worlds of different dimensions attracts new Japanese sake fans to revitalize the domestic consumption of sake in Japan, showing continued decline. 

酒豪大陸「二次元と三次元の融合による新たな日本酒の道 その3」






#alljapannews #daiginjo #japanese #japanesefood #jizake #junmai #sake


Enjoy Japanese sake during each of the four seasons

Japan has four distinct seasons, thus enjoying a long-established custom of taking in the seasonal ambiance with seasonal sake each season. “Hanamizake” (“sake for flower-viewing”) is sake representative of the spring. Banquets were held at the imperial court to view seasonal flowers from the Nara period (710-794 AD). At the time, banquets were organized to view Chinese plums, which changed to cherry blossoms after the Heian period (794-1185 AD).  

During the Momoyama period (1573-1615) in March 1598, feudal lord Hideyoshi Toyotomi hosted a cherry blossom viewing banquet at the Sanpoin Garden of Daigoji Temple in Kyoto, documented in history to have been a luxurious flower-viewing banquet. Flower-viewing became a year-round custom enjoyed by the general public during the Edo period (1603-1867). At the time, sightseeing spots to view cherry blossoms in Edo included Mukojima, Ueno, Ojiasukayama, Gotenyama, and Koganei. Families and neighbors were invited, and sake and bento (lunch boxes) were taken to view the cherry blossoms. During the Heian period (794-1185 AD), the imperial court held a flower-viewing banquet on March 3, when guests released cups of sake into the river, created a poem before their cups passed by, then drank their cups of sake.         

Boating was often enjoyed near a cool river during summer banquets. During the Edo Period (1603-1867), a lavish festival held at the Sumidagawa (Sumida River) of Ryogoku (district in modern-day Tokyo) marked the beginning of the boating season. After a banquet held at a restaurant in Yanagibashi or Mukojima, guests took out their boats and enjoyed fireworks. Some houseboats also served sake and accompaniments.      

“Tsukimizake” (“sake for moon-viewing”) is enjoyed during the fall season. Traditionally, the moon-viewing custom was enjoyed only during the fall harvest festival. On August 15 of the lunar calendar (on a full moon or the fifteenth night) and on September 13 (on the thirteenth night), guests enjoyed cups of sake outdoors as they took in the moon. On this day during the Edo Period (1603-1867), boats ventured out into the Sumidagawa (Sumida River), while neighboring restaurants bustled with guests.        

September 9 of the lunar calendar marks one of the five festivals, the chrysanthemum-viewing banquet. A custom introduced from China to Japan in ancient times, the chrysanthemum-viewing banquet became a year-round event celebrated by the imperial court during the Heian period (794-1185 AD). The imperial court enjoyed “chrysanthemum sake,” sake infused with chrysanthemums. The Imperial court held the chrysanthemum-viewing party one more time in October during the Edo Period (1603-1867).  

And finally, “Yukimizake” (“sake for snowscape-viewing”) is enjoyed during the winter season. Yukimizake was said to be enjoyed during the Heian period (794-1185 AD), the ultimate way to enjoy sake elegantly since Emperor Shirakawa was entertained in a courtyard covered with snow. 

In this way, sake was enjoyed outdoors viewing nature on many occasions since ancient times. The custom of enjoying sake outdoors still remains today as hanamizake (sake for flower-viewing) and tsukimizake (sake for moon-viewing).   

*The five festivals (Jan 7th, March 3rd, May 5th, July 7th and Sep 9th)


日本は四季がはっきりとしているため、古くから四季折々の風情を楽しむ、さまざまな遊び酒の風習があった。 春の遊び酒の代表は「花見酒」である。宮中での観花の宴は、すでに奈良時代から行なわれていたが、当時は花といえば梅で、観桜の宴となったのは平安時代以降のこととされる。桃山時代の慶長三年(1598)三月、京都の醍醐寺三宝院で豊臣秀吉が催した醍醐の花見は、絢欄豪華な花見の宴として歴史に残る。花見が庶民の年中行事になったのは江戸時代に入って からである。江戸では、向島、上野、王子飛鳥山、御殿山、小金井が桜の名所で、家族はもとより隣近所も誘い合わせ、酒弁当を持参で花見に出かけた。 






#fourseasons #japanese #japanesesake #sake #seasons #yukimizake


Tokyo Jizake Strolling (sales events at the end of the year)

By Ryuji Takahashi

Japanese sake sells most in the month of December. To say cheap sake, high-end sake, and sake products containing gold flakes all sell on their own upon display is not an understatement. Our sake shop organizes annual storefront sales events for two sake breweries in December and at the end of the year over a three-day period, with part-time workers hired for the events. Since the coronavirus outbreak, customers who cannot travel home, voluntarily refrained from booking restaurant reservations for year-end parties, and other reasons made predicting the circumstances in December difficult over the past several years. Trying to anticipate how much inventory we’ll carry when breweries stop shipping their sake products after Christmas was a major headache.      

This year however, I ordered higher volumes of sake products, determined to sell our inventory of table sake and high-end sake. A major cold wave unexpectedly hit the Sea of Japan from the side, which delayed the delivery of my shipment twice due to snow. The delay left me anxious, wondering if the sake products I planned to sell at the end of the year will be delivered on time. Meanwhile, Kanemasu Brewery of Niigata prefecture helped at the sales event for two days.   

As I wrote before, Kanemasu Brewery celebrated a major milestone last year of 200 years in business. Their featured product was the Junmai-Daiginjo “Hatsuhana,” sold only at the end of the year. Every year, I deliberate how many of this sake product priced above 10,000 JPY I should place on our store shelves. However, the product always sells out on December 31. Last year, I took many pre-orders for this popular product once again. We held our storefront sales event featuring the thick cloudy Junmai-Ginjo “Hatsuyuki” and sake nouveau Takarazukushi as the main products. Many customers visited and made the December event successful for the sake brewery that celebrated 200 years in business.          

The event for Hakuro Brewery of Niigata prefecture was scheduled several days after Kanemasu Brewery’s storefront sales event. Unfortunately, I was notified the delayed shipment will not arrive before the event due to snow, and the event was cancelled. After several anxious days of wondering what would happen to my purchased products, we were able to reschedule the storefront sales event as a two-day event once the products arrived, thanks to the courtesy of Hakuro Brewery. 

Hakuro Brewery staff shivered in the bitter winter cold selling Daiginjo, produced from sake rice polished up to thirty-five percent; cloudy Junmai-Daiginjo sake, nouveau Junmai-Ginjo sake, and sparkling Junmai sake. Sales exceeded expectations as more customers arrived than anticipated under the clear refreshing winter sky. Although December was filled with anxieties surrounding the delayed shipment due to the cold wave, increased number of people infected by the coronavirus, and decreased number of year-end party reservations, etc., the Japanese custom of welcoming the near year with sake is far from obsolete. I felt proud of the Japanese sake culture this December as men and women of various ages still enjoy sake to date.          


#coronavirus #japanese #japanesefood #jizake #sake


Key Sake Sales Points

By Yuji Matsumoto

Many of those involved in sake tend to prefer to use vague and mysterious expressions. It seems as if they dislike saying anything definitive about a product’s characteristics. However, in order to sell specific sake in a market full of many options (including wine and beer), sake makers need to have a more focused development and sales effort. This can be said about both the manufacturers and the sellers. If a sake is just “good for anyone” or “goes with everything” it just won’t stand out.

Dealing with many consumers on a daily basis making proposals on sake, I realize that there are requisite key points. Going over these points alone makes the conversation a success. Roughly speaking, there are four points. 

The first is aroma. Explain the strength of the product’s aroma (gorgeous or tender) and its characteristics (fruity, floral, alcohol).

The second is body. Explain the product’s sweetness, acid taste, bitterness, and also how it goes down one’s throat. 

The third is food pairing. Select the absolute best dish for it. 

The fourth is temperature. Explain which temperature setting is best for the product: room temperature, hot, or cold?

Sake manufacturers need to be aware of these points as well. Have a clear vision when developing a product, such as where your target market is, and what you want it to do. “I want my sake to pair with beef steaks like no red wines can” is a good example. And make sure you convey the message in your marketing effort.








#japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake


Sake Nation “A new way to promote Japanese sake combines a live-stream (2D) event with an in-person tasting (3D) event: Part 2”

By Kosuke Kuji

“The Japan Ginjo Sake Association” with over forty years of history held a new style of sake event that combines a live-stream (two-dimensional) event with an in-person tasting (three-dimensional) event.

Until now, Japanese sake was enjoyed as a personal, physical experience in a three-dimensional world.     

However, this collaborative event was organized with “VTubers” – virtual YouTubers with a large fan base across Japan and worldwide – for both real and virtual sake enthusiasts to enjoy sake together, especially Ginjo sake. Participating VTubers include “Tamaki Inuyama” of “Otokono-ko VTuber,” “Takuma Kumagaya,” caregiver of Inuyama; virtual maid “Mishiro Shirayuki,” and virtual artist “Yuzuru Himesaki.”        

Each of these four VTubers enjoy a large fan base, not only in Japan, but worldwide. 

When The Japan Ginjo Sake Association launched forty years ago, it was unthinkable that traditional Japanese sake breweries would one day collaborate with VTubers to promote their sake products. 

Although conventional customers of Japanese sake are well served, past sake tasting events are no longer sufficient to cultivate a new consumer base for Japanese sake.   

This dreamy collaboration was organized from this new global perspective, especially since these four VTubers were already Japanese sake enthusiasts to begin with. 

Please look forward to the details of this event to be reported in the next issue! 

The Japan Ginjo Sake Association Website: 

酒豪大陸「二次元と三次元の融合による新たな日本酒の道 その2」










#ginjo #japanese #japanesefood #japanesesake #sake


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