The popularity of Japanese sake is growing in other countries, and export figures are also rising every year. If the appeal of Japanese sake can be made better known to people in other countries , then no doubt the number of sake enthusiasts will grow, as well. One major factor impeding the increase in Japanese sake enthusiasts in other countries is language. The language in Japanese sake labels is indecipherable to people of other countries. This problem is further complicated by the fact that sake does not have unified rules for terminology like wine has. We would like to satisfy the desire to know more about Japanese sake found among fans and people involved in the sale of Japanese sake in other countries by bringing them information in their own language. This is our first aim. Japanese sake is not just another beverage. The ingredients that go into it and the way it is made, the brewery and the region, and the intentions of the maker all have their own stories, and the more sake people drink, the more they become interested in learning these stories about the culture of sake, which is representative of the culture of Japan. So, information about Japanese sake is not just about sake, and learning about those stories will not just increase the number of Japanese sake enthusiasts. It will also increase the number of Japan enthusiasts who want to visit Japan. This is our second aim.
sakefan World is a project that was commissioned by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for development as part of the Cool Japan policy. Its purpose is to promote overseas exports of Japanese sake and to promote inbound tourism centered on sake breweries for regional revitalization. The project is a multilingual smartphone app and website for the dissemination of information related to Japanese sake through the collaboration of the Cabinet Secretariat, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the National Tax Administration Agency, the Japan Tourism Agency, and the Japan Sake Makers’ Central Association, with the aim of popularization both in Japan and other countries. The app can display an index with a variety of different Japanese sake-related information for overseas audiences. When the smartphone is held above a Japanese sake label, the app can also provide the alcohol content, the type of sake-brewing rice used, the rice-polishing rate, and other basic information. It can also display suitable ways of serving and drinking the particular sake and dishes that go well with it. App users can also view stories about the making of Japanese sake in videos and photographs, together with information about the hopes and intentions of the maker, the sake brewery, and the surrounding area. The website has the same information as the app available for viewing, and it can be found by text browsing and searching. Users who do not have a smartphone can also obtain information about Japanese sake by going to the website. The project uses the list of standard English terms(*1)created by the National Research Institute of Brewing so that translations from Japanese will employ a unified sake terminology for people in other countries. Sensory testing(*2) of the flavors and fragrances of Japanese sake is also being performed as an experiment to create language that will be readily understandable by people in other countries and by people involved in the wine industry. Analysis of the status of app utilization is also being considered for use in sake brewery and region marketing. (*1) List of standard English terms This is a list of standard English version of specialized terms needed when explaining Japanese sake in English. It was created by the National Research Institute of Brewing on the basis of English-language publications and websites on Japanese sake and the views of parties concerned. (*2) With the cooperation of Chiaki Takahashi (formerly a researcher at the National Research Institute of Brewing), aspects such as fragrance, flavor, throat feel, aftertaste, and possible fragrance, flavor, etc. when matured, and other such factors are being documented using expressions that can also be readily understood by people who work with wine. Findings will also be displayed in graph form.