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Tuesday, 13th January 2015
In Japan Entertainment News,

Japanese drama tells story of whisky

A new drama that has just hit the small screen in Japan is making headlines in Scotland as well as Japan itself, for its depiction of the so-called 'mother of Japanese whisky'.

Massan, a fictionalised account of Kirkintilloch-born Jessie Roberta Cowan's life, offers an insight into the personal life of the woman who dramatically influenced the development of the distinctive spirit.

It is for this reason that Scotland just can't get enough of her story. Jessie - known as Rita - first met chemist Masataka Taketsuru when he came to her town to study methods of making whisky, with an ambition of setting up his own distillery when he returned home.

When he and Rita fell in love, she travelled back to Japan with him and, according to experts, continued to help with his dream of developing a spirit that was palatable to Japanese taste buds.

"Rita played a very important role in Masataka's life work," Nikka Whisky international sales manager Emiko Kaji told the BBC. "She provided not only moral support but also financial support when they had a difficult time.

"She made every effort to adopt herself to the Japanese culture and stay with him all the time, even during the [second] world war."

Although conflict raged across the globe and government officials grew suspicious of Rita's presence in Japan, the import ban helped the business to grow as appetite for genuine whisky in the country increased.

Those wanting to bear witness Rita's heritage need only visit the town of Yoichi where the distillery was initially set up. The main street still bears her name - Rita Road.

And drinks connoisseurs doubting the prowess of Japanese whisky should known that a Japanese single malt claimed the title of best whisky in the world in December last year, with Whisky expert Jim Murray describing the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 as a drink of "near incredible genius".