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The Sankei West news site has an article on disaster-hit Asahi Shuzō, makers of Dassai, and their “disposal” of sake affected by the heavy rains in western Japan with the help of a local manga artist.

The brewery lost power and had their office and brewery flooded during the torrential rains that swept the area in June and July 2018.

Asahi Shuzō brew year-round and rely on air conditioning to create their ideal sake, so they had to decide what to do with batches in storage that could not be kept as cool as they wanted while the power was out. They initially considered dumping around 300,000 bottles’ worth of sake.

Another person affected by the disaster was manga artist Kenishi Hirokane, native of Iwakuni in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He’s the creator of the long-standing (1983-1992) Kōsaku Shima series chronicling a young salaryman’s rise to the top of his company. [Apparently based on the author’s time in Panasonic, and very realistic if you’re into that kind of thing.]

Hirokane teamed up with Dassai to create a special label featuring his character, and it went on sale in August 2018 with a portion of the proceeds earmarked for relief activities in four prefectures: Okayama, Hiroshima, Ehime and Yamaguchi. Around 580,000 bottles of the special junmai daiginjō Dassai Kōsaku Shima were sold for JPY 1,200, with JPY 200 donated to charity. The joint effort raised JPY 11,600,000.

President Kazuhiro Sakurai visted the Hiroshima Prefectural Government on 30 August 2018 to hand a list of donations to support disaster relief in flood-hit western Japan to Prefectural Governor Hidehiko Yuzaki. A life-size cardboard cutout of Kōsaku Shima was also present for the meeting in the governor’s office. Governor Yuzaki expressed his gratitude for the donation, remarking that although many people may have set sake aside for the moment, enjoying it had contributed to the restoration effort.

Sakurai pointed out that the rebuilding still continues, and he hopes that the funds raised will be used to help people get back to enjoying their everyday lives.