Toasting the Recovery of Tōhoku’s Sake Industry
Sake is enjoyed all year round in Japan, in casual settings or at ceremonial events such as weddings, funerals, or other special occasions. It is produced with natural ingredients, including water and regionally cultivated rice, and many people are engaged in the production process.
As part of the series of events TŌHOKU 3.11 Forward to the Future, exploring the recovery of the Tōhoku region of north-eastern Japan, this second seminar at Japan House London looks at how sake breweries in Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima have overcome the challenges brought on by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 and successfully got themselves back on track, focusing on selected producers in these prefectures and tracing the path of their recovery.
Some breweries were almost destroyed and have turned themselves around, while others are embracing brewery tours as part of a general urban revitalization, so that visitors can experience what makes the sake industry so special for the region. Reconstruction initiatives have helped to revitalize the industry and allowed it to make great strides forward.
The second half of the seminar takes a more detailed look at the featured producers, with an opportunity for guests onsite to taste their sake and toast the recovery of the region 11 years after the disaster.
About the speakers
Yoshitake Rie is the UK-Japan communication consultant and a leading sake ambassador in Europe, where she represents The Japan Sake and Shochu Maker’s Association (JSSA), Sake Samurai Association (SSA), and the International Wine Challenge sake competition (IWC). She is also a director of the Japanese Culinary Academy in the UK, and the Japan Society. She has been spearheading numerous sake and Japanese food promotion campaigns at the highest profiled environment such as the Houses of Parliaments, embassies, universities and international corporations across Europe and the UK. She has come to be known as the “Sake Lady” of London, her adopted home, where she received the Japanese MAFF Minister’s Award (2014) and the Foreign Minister’s Award (2019) for her contribution towards raising the profile of Japan’s national drink and cuisine.
Tasaka Asami is the Managing Director at World Sake Imports (WSI) UK, the branch of a US based sake specialized imports company. WSI supplies sake to over 100 high-end restaurants throughout the UK. She played a key role in the growth of sake sales in New York City for WSI and helped to foster the Sake boom in NYC. She moved to London and opened the UK market in 2008. She is a panel chair of IWC Sake Competition. Currently Asami is focusing on building a retail and online business to cope with the new environment.
Guests must be over 18 years old to participate in sake tastings. Japan House London will operate a Challenge 25 policy during events, so guests who look under 25 will be asked to show proof of age. Japan House London reserves the right to refuse to serve alcohol to guests. Please drink responsibly. Visit drinkaware.co.uk for more information.