Sake and its History

The history of sake is an extremely long one, thought to date back some 2500 years where it was recorded in the Chinese Book of Wei (a historical record of the Northern Wei and Eastern Wei), as well as the Kojiki, the first written historical text of Japan dating back to the 8th century.

Originally sake brewing was monopolized by the government, similar to some extent to modern-day liquor boards in certain Scandinavian countries. At this time, it was mostly drunk by the Emperor or used in ceremonies, but then the 10th century, temples and shrines began brewing. Records there on out give detailed information on methods and processes used – from fermentation ingredients, such as acids, et cetera, to different rice « types » used (polished, unpolished, steamed, et cetera).

From the 12th century on, history of the process becomes quite detailed, including information that in the 16th century, a distillation technique was introduced from the Ryukyu Islands (the present-day Okinawan island chain) to Kyushu. This, along with the woodworking innovations which led to the creation of large vats, helped launch a massive, open market of sake production by private specialists not affiliated with the religious establishment.

Sake (pronounced sah-keh, with both a short « a » and « e ») itself is an alcoholic beverage. Often called a rice wine, it does not use a process of converting the natural sugars present into alcohol, like with fruit wines. Rather brewers use a process similar to beer, which itself is a two-step process of first converting the starch into sugar and the sugar to alcohol. However sake does the process of both simultaneously. Moreover, the undiluted alcohol content in sake ranges from 18-20%, while beer and wine are 3-9% and 9-16% respectively.

Sake is served at many special occasions and ceremonies, especially those in an official or religious capacity, but there are also a wide range of the spirits enjoyed at home, many times on birthdays, weddings or similar gatherings with both friends and family.


Though a word originally used solely in Japan to describe the art of illustrated comics and cartooning, this term has been popularized globally in many languages to mean either Japanese comics originating from Japan, either in the original or translation.

Made of two Chinese characters, the word means « impromptu sketches » and the term was seen as early as 18th century, including one by ukiyo-e artist Hokusai. But it wasn’t until nearly a century later that Rakuten Kitazawa, a editorial cartoonist and comic strip artist in the late Meiji to era Showa eras, used the term in the more modern sense that many know it today. Many historians consider him to the godfather of modern manga.

The term manga is far more diverse than the more global version of « Japanese comics » though. In fact, « manga » refers to all kinds of cartooning, comics, and even animation on television and the big screen. In essence thought, it has become a « pop art » form with a very sophisticated background.

The Manga Sake Story

Thanks to famed Japanese manga artist Hiroki Otsuka, an all-original story of Manga sake’s origin was given life. Available in both Japanese and English, it is free to download. Just click your preferred link to enjoy the story.