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My first reaction to this headline was “What?”, followed shortly by wondering if it was an anime anthropomorphising famous sake. (There’s a two-season anime with varieties of rice as cute high school boys, so it’s not that far-fetched.)

The Nikkei newspaper reports on a new initiative by the Nihonmatsu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Fukushima.

The chamber holds events year-round to raise awareness of the area as a sake-producing one, and now it’s searching for a “Prince of Sake” as part of a PR drive for local produce. The contest is open to all unmarried men who love sake, with the winner to be decided by a panel of local women. They have put no restrictions on where the potential princes (frogs?) live to open the field to more unique entrants and promote the event both inside and outside the city.

The prince will be announced at the Nihonmatsu Sake Matsuri festival on 17 February 2018. Applicants will have to send in a profile, photo, essay on sake, etc. to qualify for an interview. Only one prince will be chosen in the first year, by 5-10 female judges. The lucky bachelor who is crowned will win premium sake and other prizes.

Nihonmatsu has four well-known breweries: Okunomatsu (奥の松), Daishichi (大七), Ninki-Ichi (人気一), and Senkōnari (千功成). It’s possible that the city’s elected Prince of Sake may not be familiar with any of them, but the chamber is happy for the prince to appreciate local products later as their main focus is raising the city’s profile in comparison to that of Aizu, also in Fukushima prefecture.

The deadline for application is 19 January 2018, and forms must be sent by post. The city is also looking for designs for the prince’s costume.