The Birth of Sake

Seyine Park

The beauty of making saké by hand is an endangered art unknown to most. Enter Toji (Toji-san) Yamamoto, 68-year-old brewmaster at Yoshida Brewery in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture, who has dedicated his life to preserving this tradition – a process that requires full, round-the-clock devotion for six whole months. 

Inspired by his first visit to the 144-year-old Yoshida Brewery, filmmaker Erik Shirai, brings us this beautiful documentary capturing the grueling and labor-intensive six-month process of brewing saké the old-fashioned way. Much like a person, sake requires constant care and attention. “Saké making is a living thing. If you compare it to human beings, it would be like raising a child. You have to nurture it properly.” Much like a family, the team stays together sleeping, eating, bathing, drinking and singing for six months as they transform rice into saké with their own hands.