February 24, 2021

Nasu Shochu Brewery
/ Shochu, Rice Fields and the Window

Yoshiharu Tsukamoto Lab. (Tokyo Institute of Technology)

A brewery founded in 1917 in Kuma-gun, Kumamoto Prefecture. Since its founding, it has continued to brew the shochu “Kuma-no-Izumi” by hand such as making malt with a morobuta (small box for making malt) and using kame earthenware for mashing. There are 28 shochu breweries in Kuma. The larger ones use machines for everything from washing the rice to transferring it to chambers. Therefore, breweries at which all the activities are done by hand, such as the Nasu Brewery, are rare. As part of the process, rice is washed and then drained for 15 min; after steaming, it is taken into the malt room, where the moisture is removed using bamboo platforms protruding from the square shuttered window. This window is considered to link the view of the rice fields with the rice used for making shochu.

Nasu Shochu Brewery
(Rice shochu / Taragi, Kuma County, Kumamoto Prefecture)

This article is an excerpt from “Window Workology,” a joint research project concerning windows and the behaviors around them done in collaboration with Tokyo Institute of Technologyʼs Yoshiharu Tsukamoto Laboratory.