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Toji & Kurabito Spending All Winter for Sake Brewing

Toji or Touji are brewmasters. Sake brewing under the toji system started as one of the jobs for seasonal workers who used to be engaged in their family businesses in summer and go work away from home in winter. As time went by, the name gradually changed to a brewery toji, an employed toji, or a manufacturing manager. The number of toji has been decreasing due to the aging society, however, there are young people today introducing themselves as toji, so the toji system will be passed along for future generations.
Once commissioned and employed by the kuramoto (brewery owner), the toji organizes brewing staff, also known as kurabito, in the local area. In fall, they start working at breweries. They live and eat together under the same roof for about half a year and spend all their days at breweries for sake brewing, with almost no days-off, until the next spring when the last filtration process is over. A kurabito is assigned tasks starting from taking care of and cooking for other kurabitos and helping with their tasks, which steps up to more important tasks; araiba (washing tools) -> senmai (washing rice) -> kamaya (steaming) ->sento (pressing/filtration) -> motoya (shubo making) -> kojiya (koji making) -> kashira (supervisor) . Then finally comes the toji. They used to call each other by the name of tasks, so it really happened that they did not know each other’s real names. Recently, it’s increasing that Kurabito are recruited their own area of brewer.
A toji manages all kurabitos he has hired and produces sake desired by the kuramoto, for the specified amount within the appointed schedule. A toji requires not just sake brewing skills but also human quality. It is a respected job and status.

Washing rice and steeping are important tasks which determine the future state of rice. The kurabito washes rice and adds water in seconds by following instructions from the toji who has a stopwatch in his hand.
  Tipical Toji School
TOHOKU Tsugaru Toji, Nambu Toji, Samnai Toji, Aizu Toji
HOKURIKU & KANTO Echigo Toji, Noto Toji, Ono Toji Shimotsuke Toji
KINKI & CHUBU Tango Toji, Tajima Toji, Tamba Toji, Suwa Toji
CHUGOKU & SHIKOKU Bizen Toji, Hiroshima Toji, Bicchu Toji, Izumo Toji
KYUSHU Ikata Toji, Chikuzen Toji, Kumamoto Toji