Today I will tell you about Shochu’s history and Funny story in Kagoshima.
Shochu’s history and Funny story
Starting worldwide shochu
Worldwide, distilled liquor near shochu appears around the 11th century.
It seems that it was made in Middle East / Southeast Asia mainly in Siam country (present Thailand).
How to propagate from here is not certain because there is no accurate material,
When you think about Japan , near Shochu was transmitted from Thailand through China and Ryukyu (Okinawa) in the middle 14th century.
Record that came into Japan for the first time
From the record, in 1404 and 1407 from the Taisou of Korea to Tsushima(Nagasaki) near Shochu are sent .
Record drunk in Japan
The Portuguese people (Portuguese trade vessel captain Georges Alvarez) who visited Satsuma(Kagoshima) in 1546 left a record reporting about Japan, and among them distilled liquor made from rice (Called Oraca)
There was a statement that it was drunk. This is considered rice shochu.
By the way, this Japanese report record was written as requested by Francis Xavier,
In the last three years, Xavier is visiting Kagoshima for missionary work.
Character of the oldest “shochu” in Japan
When Hachiman Shrine in Koriyama Okuchi City, Kagoshima Prefecture was dismantled and repaired in 1945,A piece of wood that was painted at the time of renovation work in 1559 was found.
On the wood piece there is something written by carpenter.
It is old Japanese character but translate to present Japanese , that says ‘’A master carpenter was very stingy so I’v never let to drink shochu(although I’m repairing) ‘’
This is the oldest record in which the word “shochu” was used.
By this time, since sweet potatoes have not yet been transmitted to Japan, it is not potato shochu I think that it was about rice shochu.
Now it is really hard to drink alcohol when we working but in the past Japanese people sometimes drink alcohol while we are working.
It is not heavy drink , like a snack for short time rest.
In particular , carpenter drunk alcohol at rest time and after working.
Because Japanese people gives alcohol to carpenter for their work and also for praying god(make our house safety please)
Transmission of sweet potato
Originating sweet potatoes came from the central region around the United States, through the Philippines and China, in 1605 to the Ryukyu(Okinawa).
To Kagoshima, in 1705 the fisherman Maeda Riemon passed Ryukyu and brought back to Kagoshim.
Sweet potatoes are well suited to thin sliced silage, cultivated, and spread as food.
Satsuma was short of rice due to the circumstances of the land so sweet potato was easy to spread.
I guess this is why sweet potato shochu are made in Satsuma.
Maeda Riemon is really important people for Kagoshima!
Because he brought sweet potato to Kagoshima , kagoshima people could eat and make shochu.
So he is enshrined as「甘藷翁（からいもおんじょ）」’Karaimo-onjo’ at Shrine in Kagoshima.
甘藷 karaimo = sweet potato
翁 onjo = Casual respect word for the elderly
Glocal BAR Vibes / Nori