The Yamaguchi Shimbun newspaper site has an article on female tōji Fumiko Shintani, the only one in her prefectural association, and her sake developed for female drinkers.
Shintani Shuzō’s main label is Wakamusume (わかむすめ, “young lady”), and this sake forms part of the label as Wakamusume Bunbun.
It comes in two forms, a muroka (無濾過, unfined) nama (生, unpasteurised) genshu (原酒, undiluted) retailing at JPY 1,868, and a bin-kan hi-ire ikkai (瓶燗火入れ一回, in-bottle heat pasteurised once) muroka genshu for JPY 1,782 (both 720 ml, prices including tax).
Shintani focuses on the inherent appeal of sake, making only unfined and undiluted sake as close to its “original” state as possible. She brews slowly at low temperatures to bring out the umami from the rice and develop a deep, rich flavour and elegant aftertaste. She also keeps the alcohol down around 15-16% instead of the 17-20% normal for genshu to make it easier to drink. The bottle pasteurised version is slightly lighter in flavour.
Half the name comes from the brewery’s main label, but Bunbun? If you misread her first name, Fumiko (文子), it becomes “Bun(文) ko(子)” and she was often called that or “Bun-chan” in primary school. Doubling up the misreading gives “Bunbun”. The label was designed by a local firm with young women in mind, using deep pink as a key colour plus an illustration of Shintani herself.
Born in Yamaguchi city, Shintani studied at a two-year college, found a job at a normal company and set her heart on becoming a nurse. She then married Shintani Yoshinao, president of Shintani Shuzō, and helped him to re-establish his family brewery. She left nursing in 2016 to take up brewing full-time, and eventually took over as tōji from her husband.
Shintani held a party to celebrate the launch of the sake on 7 November 2018, inviting 30 women from the prefecture working in different fields and commenting that she had created a place that expressed who she was and hoped her success would inspire other women.
A rice-heavy nigori (にごり, coarse-filtered or cloudy sake) origarami (おりがらみ, with sediment) (JPY 1,868 for 720 ml, limited to 200 bottles) was also launched on 7 November 2018, available both inside and outside the prefecture.
- Original article (Japanese, Yamaguchi Shimbun, 9 November 2018)
- Shintani Shuzō (Japanese)