About the ‘Media and Sake’ Exhibition

The history of kokushu in Japan is long, with records of sake brewing existing from the 7th century, and shochu and awamori emerging in Kyushu and Okinawa around the 15th century. The importance of kokushu within Japanese culture is evident not only from its long history but also from its frequent depictions in artwork.

Sake is brewed from rice, the staple food of Japan, via a complex process. In the early days, sake was a precious commodity and initially served during rituals or as offerings to the gods. With the development of brewing and rice cultivation techniques, sake became a drink that regular citizens could enjoy daily. However, the ceremonial significance of sake such as at weddings and other special occasions continues to this day as part of Japanese culture. Similarly, shochu and awamori are also enjoyed as part of daily evening drinks as well as during ceremonies in Kyushu and Okinawa.

Establishments selling alcohol, such as izakaya, have become inseparable from the development of kokushu. Izakaya serving sake and snacks first emerged in the Edo period. Nowadays, the increasing number of establishments and diverse menus have made izakayas a popular place regardless of age or gender. In a society that highly values manners and etiquette, such establishments are a unique place where customers can interact with each other regardless of their age or social position, with alcoholic drinks playing a prominent role.

This digital exhibition aims to showcase how the Japanese drink kokushu, as well as the role it has played in Japanese society through contemporary media works such as movies, manga, and TV programs. In addition, several documentaries and highly specialized works produced in recent years related to kokushu will also be featured.

* Please note that all works featured in the ‘Media and Japanese Sake’ exhibition have been selected by the Kokushu Digital Museum based on a theme, and there are many other works that are not listed.

* The works showcased in this exhibition are posted with permission from the copyright holders. We strictly prohibit using, copying, modifying, publishing, or distributing of images from this site.

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