SakeMasters Academy 4: Brief History of Sake (Development of Sake Making 2/5 - Kamakura to Azuchi Momoyama Periods)

Sake started to be traded with equivalent economic value to rice in "Kamakura" (鎌倉) period (1185-1333, Kamakura Shogunate Capital) when commercial activities became active with monetary economy system. Many business people started their sake manufacturing using big jars of "Nikoku" (二石) 360L to "San-goku" (三石540L (we will discuss Japanese weight measures at later academy) although production volumes were still relatively limited. However, some Samurais ruined themselves by having too much sake or caused killing/hurting cases by getting drunk. Then the government issued "Koshu No Kin" (沽酒の禁) (literally, prohibition of sake trading) in 1252 to prevent these cases by destroying sake jars, leaving only one jar per household. Again it does not seem good to drink too much in any periods of history......

During "Muromachi" (室町) period (1336-1537, Kyoto Shogunate Capital), the government gave a privileged right of sake making to sake breweries while imposing taxes to them. Sake brewing business prospered in Kyoto and numbers of sake breweries reached to 342 in 1425. Along with such sake brewing development, "Souboushu" (僧坊酒) (monks' sake) and other sake in various regions began to emerge. The records shows that sake manufacturing method had remarkable developments including "Hiire" (火入れ) (pasteurization) and "Danjikomi" (段仕込) (steps sake making) to manage quality controls of sake. Actually, with regard to Hiire, it is surprising to know that Japanese sake brewers had already found a Hiire pasteurization method more than 300 years before when Louis Pasteur found it as "pasteurization" is named. Also "Jyukkoku" (十石) / 1,800L big jar was used in Nara region to make a pass mass production of sake possible since this period.

However, during "Sengoku" (戦国) (warring states) period (1467/1493-1590), Nobunaga Oda (1534-1582) suppressed monks because they started form their military forces, and Souboushu started to wane. He introduced "Rakuichi Rakuza" (楽市楽座) to liberalize business activities anywhere in the regions and sake manufacturings expanded on a nationwide basis. Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598) held "Hanami" (花見), a cherry blossom viewing party, in Kyoto and provided various kinds of sake from all over the Japan. It is said that he particularly liked to drink "Amano Zake" (天野酒) from "Kawachi" (河内) in Osaka. So, Hanami and sake goes hand-in-hand from long time ago in Japan. In the next academy, we will discuss "Brief History of Sake (Development of Sake Making 3/5 - Edo Period)".

Famous Japanese "Senryu" (川柳) (short poem):
"If the bird does not sing, I will kill it" - Oda Nobunaga (織田信長) (1534-1582)
"If the bird does not sing, I will make it sing" - Toyotomi Hideyoshi (豊臣秀吉) (1537-1598)
"If the bird dos not sign, I will wait until it starts to sing" - Tokugawa Ieyasu (徳川家康) (1543-1616)

Previous blog: "Brief History of Sake (Development of Sake Making 1/5 - Nara to Heian Periods)"


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