《Interview》 Tanba Toji Fuji Takao

First time becoming a TojiSasayama is the home of Tanba Tojis.

Basically, the senior toji would talk to us about daily matters, but when it comes to those important skills for sake production, they are the masters! They don’t really talk about it, I just have to watch and steal those skills from them.

Toji’s responsibilities

The first responsibility is to make sure that the workers are able to work safely. Kariba Brewer, where I work is a local sake brewer.
Major brewers sell their sake by organization; but we don’t. What we need to do first is to make sure that the sake that we are producing is the one that the local people love. Since everyone’s taste varies, the range is pretty wide, we have to produce the sake that differs us from the major brewers.


Local Sake Production and Insistance of Koji

The shop workers, sake production workers are just like family to me. I think one of the most important things when making sake is to connect the target of the shop tightly with what the guests like.

What the senior toji taught me was the most important thing for sake production is Koji, Moto and Sake Production. This teaching is the something that a toji must remember.
For sake, koji is extremely important. With the activation of koji on steamed rice, it saccharifies the rice. Once the rice is saccharified, the yeast will start to ferment. This kind of fermenting method is the unique method of Nihonshu, called paralleled fermentation. To make this method successful, koji needs to be well-prepared, or it will be hard to produce good sake. Even though, the good water-Miyamizu of Nada is perfect for sake production, actually each local brewers have their own wells. Depends on the water, the flavor of sake varies, and there was a period when we paid extra attentions to our guests’ reactions.

For those youth who wants to produce Sake

The time is different from it was before, there are lesser young successors in this industry. I hope that the young generation would be interested in Kokushu, and challenging themselves to try to make it since it’s a sake full of tradition. We will pass on our skills to them, and hope that the young generations will pass on the tradition of Tanba Toji on and on.