The Mainichi Newspaper has an article on a tōji’s daughter who stepped up to take on the role after her father fell ill.
Yuri Kawana hated being the only daughter of the owner of the Kawana Shoten brewery and had no intention of taking over the family business, rebelling against her father Masanao when he said he wanted her to study brewing.
After assisting with brewing for the next five years, in January 2018 her father fell ill the day before he planned to start brewing. Yuri rushed to the brewery and took over, facing one uncertainty after another without her father there for guidance. Apprehensive about how the brewing sake would develop, she went nowhere other than home or the kura for a month.
The brewery’s flagship label Koganesawa (黄金澤) went on to win a gold medal for the 15th year in a row at the National New Sake Appraisal in May 2018, setting a new record. Asked if she was happy, Yuri replied that what she felt was more like relief.
Seven breweries in Miyagi Prefecture work together to produce sake under the Date Seven label (伊達セブン, presumably named after famous local lord Date Masamune). In keeping with the “seven” theme, the sake goes on sale on the seventh day of the seventh month. The breweries pool their accumulated know-how to brew, with one “lead kura” that coordinates and hosts the project. The project uses the extremely difficult table rice Hitomebore to produce a junmai daiginjō, milling the rice to 33% to ensure there are no undesirable flavours, resulting in a soft, sweet and clear sake.
Kawana Shoten led this round, with Yuri stepping into the breach created by her father’s absence to deliver a sake that she hopes will let people taste the accumulated expertise and skill of Miyagi’s kura.