Last Updated on May 19, 2023 by asoulwindow


 What is Miss Sake contest?

Miss SAKE competition is organized by Miss Sake Association for the purpose of choosing an ambassador to share the greatness Japanese culture and Japanese traditional sake with people within and outside Japan.

Sae haruta_Miss Sake 2019
Sae Haruta / 春田早重 Miss Sake 2019

When was Miss Sake launched?

Miss Sake activity was started in September, 2013 supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the National Tax Agency, the Japan Tourism Agency, Japan Sake and Shochu Makers association and so on.

Miss Sake Event falls into 3 broad categories.

  1. Introduction of Japanese Sake and Japanese Culture
  2. Development of Food and Agricultural Industry in Local Community
  3. Introduction of Japanese Traditional Culture

Where was first Miss Sake held?

In 2016, the first international Miss SAKE competition, “Miss SAKE USA,” was held in New York.  The Wall Street Journal, the largest newspaper in the U.S. by circulation, praised our competition for preserving the dignity of women because we do not have a swimsuit segment. As this is the 5th year since we started our organization, Miss SAKE continues to develop as a cultural project by expanding regional competitions in Japan and international destinations.

Sake japan drink-3018623_1280
Serving Sake in Japan.

What is Sake?

Sake is many times referred to in English as a rice wine but in Japanese, sake or o-sake refers to alcoholic drinks in general as the Japanese term for this beverage is “Nihonshu” (日本酒) which means “Japanese alcohol. Sake has basically four ingredients; rice, water, yeast and koji (a mould).

As Sake is a beverage fermented from rice, which is a grain, this would in one way make Sake more of a beer, but flavor-wise Sake is much more closer to wine. However, unlike true wine, in which alcohol is produced by fermenting the sugar naturally which is present in fruit, Sake is made through another brewing process.

History of Sake

Sake has existed for more than 2000 years in Japan and the origins of sake can be traced in the Yangtse River Valley in China as far back as 4000 B.C. Sake came to Japan around 300 B.C. and it was the Japanese that started mass production of this delicious beverage.

In the beginning of sake’s 2000 year history in Japan the production was controlled. Sake was in the beginning brewed only for the Imperial Court in Kyoto, Shinto shrines and temples. 300 AD (Yamato Era) the Department of Sake was established in the Nara area. To ensure good harvest annual festivals were arranged and sake was offered to their gods.

The first known publication on brewing sake was written in the early 8th-century; Harima no Kuni Fudoki (“The Geography and Culture of Harima Province”). Harima is one of the oldest provinces of Japan. In 927 AD the law book , 50 volumes, Engi Shiki (“Procedures of the Engi Era”) described how sake was made at the Imperial Court.

Before it was known that sake could be produced by adding yeast and Koji (a mould enzyme) it was common in the early days that a whole village was involved in the process of making sake. “Kuchikami no sake,” which means “chewing mouth sake” meant that all people in the village was chewing rice and nuts and then spitted the mixture in a community barrel.

Until the 10th century sake brewing was a government monopoly. For the next 500 years temples and shrines began to brew the main centers for production

During the Meiji Restoration (from 1868) , it was permitted by law for the Japanese to construct and operate their own sake breweries. Within a year close to 30,000 breweries opened around Japan. With ever higher taxes, the number of breweries after a few decades to about 8000.

Sake has been taxed for long by the Japanese Federal Government. In 1898 about 45% of the total direct tax income was from sake, 55 million yen out of a total of 120 million yen. Today this “government income” from sake is only about 2%.

In 1904 the Japanese Government opened the Sake-brewing Research Institute and a few years after wooden barrels were banned, instead enamel coated steel tanks began to be used. Through the centuries, common people around Japan started to produce sake despite ban both of the production and consumption. In 1904–1905, during the Russo-Japanese War home brewing of sake was banned by the Government, a law that remains in effect today. In 1905 sake still made up 30% of Japan’s tax revenue.

During World War II the quality of sake gradually went down. When the government limited the possibility of using rice in the production alcohol and glucose were added which meant sake of poor quality.

After the war the quality of sake gradually went up and the quality of sake is steadily improving also in the 21st century.

Sake Japan meiji-jingu-shrine-1665217_1280
Sake paradise in Japan

Current Status of Sake in Japan

Japan Sake Brewers Association (SBA) represents all 1800 sake brewers in Japan from Hokkaido to Okinawa, and is the leading industry association in this field.

You find sake breweries all over Japan, and each brewery makes their varieties of sake. This makes this wonderful drink even more exciting and gives an opportunity to enjoy unique tastes from each area and brewer.

How it Sake served in Japan?

Depending on your preferences, season and quality sake is in Japan served chilled, at room temperature, or heated.

Sake can be served in a wide variety of cups; an ochoko (a small, cylindrical cup), a masu (a wooden, box-like cup) or a sakazuki (a flat, saucer-like cup, most commonly at weddings, temples and other ceremonial occasions). Sake is poured into the cup from ceramic flasks called tokkuri. The last year’s premium Sake also is served in specifically made footed glasses.

Concept of Miss Sake India

Sake is deeply rooted In Japanese history and culture, having been around since ancient times. Over the years, Sake has gained popularity across the world and has become a true ambassador of Japan’s beautiful culture & traditions. In the present times, the India – Japan relationship is at its all-time best, and the bond between these two ancient civilisations has deepened.

Indians have started appreciating Japanese food and beverages as is evident from the mushrooming authentic Japanese restaurants in India.

There could be no better time to have an India’s own ‘Miss Sake’ to further promote Japanese culture through Sake and take and strengthen the love between two countries.

Objectives of Miss Sake:

  • To choose an ambassador from India to promote the Japanese culture, art and craftsmanship
  • To celebrate Japanese culture with Indian flavor
  • Promotion and education of the enjoyment of sake
  • Promotion of Japanese cuisine, regional food and agriculture

Few facts about Miss Sake:

  • First Miss Sake was chosen in 2013 in Japan
  • First international Miss Sake was held in New York, USA
  • More than 900 applicants apply for the contest
  • Miss Sake 2020 will be hosted in Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Vietnam & now in INDIA
  • Finale will take place in Japan

Miss Sake 2019 Sae Haruta 

Sae Haruta was told about Miss Sake by a friend in Doshisha University (where she is a sophomore) and she became a contestant. Busy in her studies, she hardly had any time to prepare for the mega contest but much to her surprise she beat all to become the winner.

Regional Rounds of Miss Sake:

Two regional rounds to be organised in West, and North

  • West round in Mumbai: November 2ndweek
  • North round in Delhi: December 2ndweek
  • India finale in Delhi/Jaipur: February 2020 2nd week

Global Round:

 The winner of Miss Sake 2020 India will participate and represent India at the Miss Sake 2020 which will be hosted in Japan.

  • The Indian crown winner will be a spokesperson at many cultural events and will engage the community to share her passion for Japan.
  • Global finale round will take place in March 2020.
  • Winner of Miss Sake 2020 in Japan will be presented with the prize money of 3 million yen.
sake logo
Logo of Miss Sake

Miss Sake Logo

This logo represents an honorable competition for youthful women to play active parts worldwide. The word of “SAKE” is in the shape of folded origami. Folding origami is Japanese traditional playing, originated in Japan. The geometric shape of origami stands for artistry,

youthfulness and intelligence. I was also inspired by traditional wooden architecture, where no nail is used. It represents each piece is flexibly connected with one another. To give a calm and peaceful image, I use the classical typeface, which also adds the orthodox impression to the logo.

Sake of Japan

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