日本酒を語る

Talk about sake

2020.06.10

Knowledge

Tracing the History of Sake Export……

Sake has become more and more popular on a global scale. The total amount of export as of 2019 has been soaring to new heights for 10 consecutive years. The Vienna International Exposition (World’s Fair) of 1873 is said to have served as the first opportunity to make sake known to the world. It was the first world’s international expo the Meiji Government officially participated in to appeal the renewal of Japan. This led to the emergence of Japonism which was widely spread in Europe at the time of Paris Expo thereafter. However, sake had already been exported to South East Asia since the Edo period (1603-1868) by trading ships called shuinsen (red-seal ships) having permits to travel overseas. It was periodically shipped especially to some parts of current Indonesia, where the unique food culture is said to have been formed with sake consumed as aperitif and wine during the meal. There is also evidence that sake that was sent via Holland to Japanese living overseas spread widely in Europe. They say, in those days, barrels and tokkuri-shaped comprador bottles made of ceramics were used for the shipment. Though being suspended before and after the World War II, the export resumed once the volume of production revived. Some sake breweries less damaged by the war seem to have restarted the export five and six years after the war.