Koji Oguri, a lecturer in intelligent information processing and biomedical engineering at the Graduate School of Information Science and Technology at Aichi Prefectural University, took yeast from the white banksia roses in his garden and, with the help of some sake brewers, turned it into a sake called Aishiteiru (愛している, I love you).
Oguri himself is no stranger to fermented foods – he’s the 14th head of the Oguri family, who have thrived producing miso and soy sauce as owners of the Mansan company. He married in to the family at age 30, joining a 400 year line of brewing tradition, and lived in the main house with its 150 year old banskia rose in the garden. Familiar with the use of flower yeasts to brew sake from his time at Tokyo University School of Agriculture, he wondered if these flowers could be used. Old documents from the family stores showed that the Oguris had brewed sake back in 1713, so Oguri started trials in 2012 with the aim of having sake for the 300th anniversary in 2013, but overshot by two years and finally produced it in 2015.
The sake is characterised by a rose fragrance and fruity flavour, and brings together the traditions of a long-standing family with the equally historic traditions of brewing. Oguri chose the name Aishiteiru because he always wants to tell his parents, loved ones and friends that he loves them when spring comes. His home town of Handa is facing depopulation, and Oguri feels that showcasing the charm of the area through its produce is vital.
- Original article (Japanese, Mainichi newspaper, 16 April 2018)
- Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Aichi Prefectural University (Japanese)
- Graduate School of Information Science and Technology, Aichi Prefectural Univeristy (English)