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rough and ready bre\,v), but it tèll out of favor
\rith modernization.
fhe re.rsons for thar *ere both pecuni.try
and pragmatic. From the end ofthe 19th
centun' onirards, brervers l.rad to pav tax on
sake as soon as it ivas made. If the,v lett it to
mature, thel'd hare a longer wait to gei their
n.rone,v back. Another problem was that sake

particularly susceptible to going bad. The
longer it is lett to mature, the greater the
chance of the entire batch ending up r-rndrinkable ancl unsellable. \\h1, r isk financial

200 rrkq,o-s w666block prints, passed down

through tl.re lamily since the Edo period.
Or er a cup ofgreen tea with Masuda and

his rr'itè, Kahoru, I was surprised to find that

used them to distract tax ofÊcials who came

Fushinrl saIe brev,,ing
during the Edo period

to surr ev {he brewery.
Irr la.t.

trr

business tbr sake brer,vem of the time. Some

brewers rr,ere known to underdeclare tl.reir
outpuT or even brew sake secretl,v to avoid
paying tax. It is said that the unscrupulous
n.rigl.rt shave tl.re ir.rsicle

ofthe

sake vats after

they'd been measured by lhe terxnan: any-

thing to fit in

a

little extrâ.

So when Masuda's tàther decided to mature

their brewery's sake, he looked not to fellou,
brerçers but the Ho ttcln Slrckkan, an exhalustire account ofEdo food cultule published
in 1697, listing medicinal values of various

Sake Goes Chic

plants and animals, ir.rcluding a detailed de-

about rvine. He chose Germrny because he
bclieved th:rt the sweel nnd ironratic wines

l,ith

lacquc-r

covered paulownia wood stoppers. Antique
washl paper is pasted on top to complete the

N{atured sake lvtrsn't the only innovation that
Masuda Sr brought to tl.re historic brewery.

In 1965 he travelled to Gernany ro learn

there were closer to sake than drier. more
acidic French wines.

"One reason he went was that if sake
u,as eoing to have ir battle a,:ainsl rr'ine, he
thought we'd better learn about the enemy,"
jokes Masuda.

seal. As in ancient times. most of their sake is

stored at roor.l.r lemperâtlrre.
As well as being a brewer, scholar, and

gentleman, Masuda's father lr,as an euthtsiastic collector. He amassed 500 to 600 items

of salie ware. The brewery also has 150 to

Sake had an unglamorous image in laparr

ât the tirre. To put it bhrntly, it was seen as
a

drink tbr old

t.nen to get

drunk and

nois1.

on. Deciding that sake needs to be as chic as
wine, Masuda's tàther started sake meet ups
centercd on fine tbod, fine wine, and knowl-

(sh,,Je) at

entranae. lulasuda

a wLlodblo.k

(

inspecLions were a seriou<

almostin.rmediatel,v-i

Tl.re f.lasks are still there, sealed

rgE

paper

disaster by aging it when salie could be sold

scription ofhow to brew and age sake.
The book stipulated the sake be stored ir.r
ceranic tlasks, which T§ukir.ro Katsura dutifully replicated ttrr theil second-floor "cellari'

Exterior wall vents ard
ae sure
sgns of a bre'Ner)1 as is
Shinto iesioôn ol straw
rope (sirmenawa) and
elongated burlding

they also own a striking set of erotic sfuunga
prints. Ilasuda jokes that his grar.rdfather

is

Learning from History

Long Look Back

I601-IBbs),

w,fe

l;horu

the

exriines

pri.t ol

.r',hile

sit

he and
with histori.

kc,shu brcwlng do.umenis.