Shikishima" is a Japanese sake formerly produced by Ito Goshi Company in Kamezaki-cho, Handa City, Aichi Prefecture. Ito Goshi Kaisha was founded in 1788 and was once a well-known brewery throughout Japan. In addition to sake, the company was also involved in the miso and soy sauce business, a pharmacy, and the establishment of a bank, and was a conglomerate deeply rooted in the local industry.
The Chita Peninsula was closer to the Kanto region than Nada and Fushimi, which were famous for their sake, and the Chita Peninsula was able to deliver sake to Edo quickly when there was a shortage due to famine. For this reason, sake from the Chita Peninsula became popular in Edo as "Chugoku-shu" (sake from the Chubu region). Kamezaki was known in Edo as a major sake-producing area, and "Shikishima," taken from the lyrics of "Shikishima no yamatoshin wo hito inquires about Yamazakurahana," a poem by Hon'i Nobunaga, a famous scholar of Japanese literature in Edo, which was popular at the same time, gained support among the people there.
In 1923, it was the only sake brewery in the Nagoya Taxation Bureau's jurisdiction (four Tokai prefectures, Nagano Prefecture, and Niigata Prefecture) to be ranked as a "yokozuna," or champion sake brewer in the Chubu region.
However, due to a decline in demand for sake and the poor performance of the wholesale companies that handled it, the company ended its more than 200-year history in 2000.
However, in 2020, Shikishima in Handa City, Aichi Prefecture, was revived as a sake brewery by Masaru Ito, the ninth generation of the Ito family. With the cooperation of Fukumochi Sake Brewery in Nabari City, Mie Prefecture (brand name: Tenga Nishiki), a single tank of "Shikishima 0th Step" was born. It was the birth of a small but significant sake.
"Turning 0 into 1," and "Brewing sake in Kamezaki, Handa City, Aichi Prefecture, is the starting point for us.
With these thoughts in mind, the sake was named "Shikishima 0th Step. The following year, Fukumochi Shuzo Brewery also produced "Hanpoome". The sake was named "Hanpo-me" in recognition of the first step of the brewery's recovery, and the small but sure step it took before taking the first step.
However, there was a big obstacle in the way of our goal of reviving "Shikishima" production in Kamezaki-cho, Handa City.
The company had returned its sake production license when it closed its business, so it started from a place of uncertainty regarding the future of sake brewing in Kamezaki.*No new licenses have been issued due to the balance between supply and demand (as of March 31, 2021).
Fortunately, however, in March 2021, the company was able to make a new home.
After taking the first "zero step" and then the "half step," we were able to make various people aware of the steps we had taken toward reviving our business. As a result, we were able to re-acquire a sake production license in March 2021.
Reference Articles: https://jp.sake-times.com/knowledge/sakagura/sake_g-shikishima-ito
At the same time, in January 2021, we were able to buy back the former production site, the main brewery, and the new factory. On December 1, 2021, after more than 20 years, the former Ito Goshi Kaisha, the producer of Shikishima sake, returned to Kamezaki-cho, Handa City, as the current Ito Corporation. Ltd. in Kamezaki-cho, Handa City. 15 tanks of sake were produced by June 2022. The clock has started ticking again.
The steps we have taken so far are just a starting point. Sake is a part of Japan's food culture. We are proud to be a part of brewing that culture.
Shikishima will continue to be near food and will be a standard sake for 200 years.
We will continue to brew delicious sake today.