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The Poetry of Sake

I recently read a book (monograph?) titled Akita Sake Breweries and Their Stories. The book provides a brief description of how sake is brewed, introduces Akita’s sake history, then provides short histories of 35 of Akita’s sake breweries.

Pouring sake at Akita’s Ama no To (Heaven’s Gate) saké brewery.

While I was familiar with many of the breweries and their labels (i.e., product lines) I did not know too much about their histories, some of which were quite fascinating.

The book was published by the same center that helped fund our Philosophy of Sake workshop in February, the Institute for Asian Studies and Regional Collaboration at Akita International University. In his postscript, the editor Yutaka Takemura says,

“If wine is a bottled poem, then sake is a bottled haiku.”

What a wonderful quote!

The idea for the Philosophy of Sake workshop was born from the popular research grounded in the Philosophy of Wine. Indeed many of our presenters had their foundations in the Philosophy of Wine. In preparing my own paper, I first read a number of papers on the Philosophy of Wine, and then applied what I learned to understanding what a Philosophy of Sake might be.

We hope to organize the 2nd International Workshop on the Philosophy of Sake in late 2020. If so, I will continue my investigation into sake as it appears in premodern Japanese literature and will be sure to work this quote into my paper!