Latest News

Friday, 12th August 2011
In General Japan News,

'Intriguing' new book on drinking in Japan released

People interested in the history of alcohol in Japan should consider buying a new book written by Chris Bunting, called Drinking Japan, which gives a "fine" overview of the subject.

Stephen Mansfield, who reviewed the book for the Japan Times, said that the book offers a huge variety of interesting facts about the history of drink in the country.

"During the prohibition years in America, for example, we learn that Japan was able to import cheap, second-hand equipment from disabled U.S. breweries and wineries," he said.

"Contrary to my belief that the sweet potato came to Japan via Dutch ships … the vegetable, an essential ingredient of shochu, was first planted in Kyushu by the Englishman Richard Cocks in 1615."

Shochu is a classically Japanese distilled drink made from barley, sweet potatoes or rice - it is often confused with another alcoholic beverage often associated with the country: sake.

Some other fascinating facts about the Japanese drinking industry that Bunting includes in the book is the story of French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre's love of whisky from the country.

Written by Mark Smith