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date: 19 October 2017

Beer and Whisky in Japanese Marketplaces

Abstract and Keywords

Japan has a local, centuries-old tradition of brewing sake from rice and distilling spirits from ingredients such as grain and sweet potatoes, but pioneering entrepreneurs began producing imported “Western liquors” (yōshu) in the late 19th century. This Western liquor marketplace was driven chiefly by beer brewing and whisky distilling. Western liquors were marketed, advertised, and consumed with rising popularity through the early 20th century, as living standards rose and ordinary Japanese came to afford them regularly. Following the Second World War (1939–1945), these Western commodities were no longer viewed as foreign imports, and were instead broadly regarded as domestic, if not indigenous, products. The impact of wartime rationing transformed beer into a lighter-tasting beverage that became very popular with women and young people, and whisky advertising focused closely on professional “salarymen” seeking increased prestige as well as escape from their demanding jobs.

Keywords: Japan, alcohol, beer, whisky, liquor, brewing, Suntory, Nikka, Taketsuru Masataka, Saji Keizō

Whisky Distilling, Advertising, and Sales

Since the arrival of Europeans in Japan in the 16th century, distilled spirits from the West were known simply as yōshu (Western liquor). The Portuguese brought wine, the Dutch later brought beer and brandy, and in the mid-19th century, the Americans brought whisky. As the Japanese had long been drinkers of Nihonshu (sake), sweet Chinese wines, and spirits like shōchu and awamori distilled from grains, rice, or sweet potatoes, whisky was initially consumed chiefly by foreigners. In time, wealthier urban Japanese came to try it, especially as familiarity with Western food and drink became a mark of sophistication among those working in professional and diplomatic circles.1 By the 1880s and 1890s, whisky could be found in Western-styled hotel bars in Japan’s largest cities, as well as in the homes of resident foreigners, who lived chiefly in Yokohama.

One of the first attempts to distill whisky in Japan was undertaken by Torii Shinjirō, who established his own shop, the Torii Shōten, in Osaka in 1899, at the age of twenty. He initially sold imported wine and canned goods, changing the name of his company to Kotobuki-ya in 1906 (today Suntory K.K.), but by the First World War (1914–1918) he was bored by the wine business and wished to try his hand at making whisky.2 He ordered books on whisky production from Britain and studied them closely before attempting it himself, despite the objections of his investors, who saw no future in it.3 To improve his chances, Torii recruited the only Japanese man trained in Scotland in the art of whisky making, Taketsuru Masataka. In Taketsuru’s autobiography, he describes how he became one of Japan’s first distillers and later the founder of the surviving rival whisky maker, Nikka K.K.4 He first studied chemistry and brewing science at Osaka Technical High School (today Osaka University), where he discovered an interest in Western liquor.5 After graduation, he was hired by Abe Kihei to work for Settsu Shuzō (Settsu Brewery), which sent him to Scotland late in the First World War to study distillation and applied chemistry.

Upon his return to Japan, Torii hired him to work for Kotobuki-ya, and Taketsuru began by searching for the ideal site for the company’s new whisky distillery. He recommended Yoichi, 50 kilometers west of Sapporo on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, where the climate resembled that of Scotland.6 Torii disagreed, deciding instead to build his distillery at Yamazaki, to the west of Kyoto at the foot of Mount Tenno, where a natural spring afforded high-quality water.7 The plant was finished in 1924, and distillation began that December. In 1937, the company issued a twelve-year-old blend named “Suntory Liqueur Whisky,” which came in a square bottle (Kaku-bin) with a tortoise-shell glass texture that the company has maintained to this day. During the Second World War (1939–1945), distillation became a state-run industry in 1943, and the demands of the military for fuel alcohol gradually sidelined whisky production. Late in the war, Torii’s employees dug bomb shelters in the canyon near the plant in order to hide their remaining barrels of unblended whisky.8 After the war, the company continued selling “Kakubin” and a cheaper whisky known as “Suntory White” (Howaito), but due to the poor postwar economy, it waited until 1950 to sell its hidden casks, which would become its premium blend.9

Japan’s Postwar Whisky Trade

In October 1945, both Nikka and Kotobuki-ya were ordered by Allied Occupation (1945–1952) headquarters to produce whisky for Allied forces. Kotobuki-ya was soon bottling cheap “Blue Ribbon” whisky for enlisted personnel, and “Rare Old” for the officer corps. In the same month, Kotobuki-ya hired demobilized navy chemist Saji Keizō to found a food chemistry laboratory, which opened in early 1946.10 Saji convinced the owner, Torii, that the company’s chief postwar obstacle was the cheap and often dangerous illegal liquor that was being produced and consumed by impoverished Japanese in backstreets and alleyways throughout the country.11 Reluctantly, Torii authorized the plan to produce a very inexpensive grain whisky called Torys whisky (short for Suntory), which went on sale in April 1946. Early sales were strong, and Torii, convinced by the value of this approach, made Saji his managing director in 1949.

In 1950, the postwar system of rationing and fixed prices finally ended, and Suntory decided to release its premium line, “Suntory Old,” which it had hidden away during the war. Together with “White” and “Kakubin,” the new release rounded out the company’s product line, and steadily drew consumers toward more premium products. In 1954, Saji assembled a team of talented writers and artists to refashion the company’s advertising section. For the next several years, their clever ad copy and illustrations appeared in leading newspapers every week, reaching countless readers and making the campaign for Torys whisky one of the most famous in Japan’s history.12 While whisky was not consumed by most Japanese prior to the war, many warmed up to it during the 1950s, prompted chiefly by the entertaining themes and images in ads for Torys.13 Proprietary and franchised whisky bars known as Torys Bars (Torisu baa) began mushrooming throughout Japan’s major cities during the 1950s, and by the 1960s even small towns could boast having one or two. Inside, patrons could order whisky neat for ¥40, or mixed with water or soda as a whisky highball for ¥50, and enjoy the sleek, contemporary décor. Torys Bars were designed to be “a cheap, welcoming place for salarymen,” and though some employed female hostesses, most were a chiefly male preserve.14 Before long, a “Torys highball” was known simply as a torihai, and the trend spawned an array of competing bars throughout Japan’s urban areas, including “Nikka Bars.”15 Rival distiller Nikka K.K. was still operating in Yoichi, Hokkaido, and though it was a smaller firm, it too was drawn into the whisky bar market. By the mid-1960s, there were thousands of Torys Bars operating all over the country, which gave rise to the contemporary phrase “Torys culture” (Torisu bunka).16

In 1956, Kotobuki-ya began airing brief television commercials and also printing its own newspaper, Yōshu Tengoku, or Western Liquor Heaven, which Torys Bar owners issued to favored bar clients. The company also sponsored a wide array of cultural events, including cabarets, jazz shows, film screenings, poetry readings, and so on, and its many ads offered consumers chances to win cameras, appliances, furniture, and even a trip to Hawai’i.17 Such prizes were impossibly expensive for most Japanese families in the 1950s, which helped to align whisky with the themes of prestige, affluence, and modern living in the eyes of striving postwar consumers. As author Hirosawa Masaru put it, “with this, the whisky boom was lit, and [Torys Bars] became the driving force behind Japan’s entry into the Western liquor era.”18 Managing Director Saji Keizō, who became the company’s second president in 1961, said that whisky highballs, together with beer, became the beverage of choice among professional workers, dominating professional “salaryman” drinking culture.19

As living standards continued to rise through the 1960s, Western-style bars became so commonplace that Kotobuki-ya, which changed its name to Suntory K.K. in 1963, faced stiffer competition. More urban hotels and restaurants were built or renovated to include whisky or cocktail bars, and steadily more consumers could afford to drink comfortably at home, where, amid improved indoor heating and refrigeration, they could stock bars of their own.20 By the 1970s, Suntory embarked on a campaign to encourage owners of traditional Japanese-style restaurants, sushi shops, inns, and tea houses to sell whisky, which had long been unavailable and unwelcome in many such establishments. Consumers who purchased pocket-sized bottles of newer products like Suntory Red whisky began asking the owners of such shops to permit them to drink whisky with their meals. Suntory soon picked up on this trend and began encouraging traditional shop owners to sell whisky, a campaign that it called its “two chopsticks strategy.” 21 The campaign was very successful, and whisky, followed by other Western spirits, could soon be found in a wide array of Japanese-style venues.

In the first twenty-five years since the war, Suntory spearheaded a series of strategic marketing efforts that cemented its status as one of Japan’s most recognizable firms. They began by encouraging consumers to trade illegal liquor for cheap whisky, then drawing consumers up toward better grades of whisky, aligning their advertisements with an array of cultural events, offering a sense of escape in their modern Torys Bars, and finally prompting traditional restaurant owners to sell whisky alongside traditional liquors like sake and shōchu. In the 1970s, Suntory began selling brandy, and by the 1990s its unblended, single-malt whiskies began to rival imported scotches in their depth and quality. Though imported whiskies remain very popular in Japan today, the cachet of domestically produced whisky continues to rise, and it has also begun to earn significant acclaim among foreign whisky enthusiasts. Suntory’s sherry-cask single malt was named “whisky of the year” by Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2015. Mr. Murray called the product a work of “near indescribable genius,” which, of course, quickly rendered it nearly unobtainable.22 To be sure, Japan’s appreciation for fine whiskies, along with other Western spirits, is a reflection of just how far its economy and its culture have come from the gritty postwar years.

Prewar Beer Brewing, Advertising, and Sales

Beer was first introduced to Japan by Dutch traders living on the island of Deshima, in Nagasaki harbor, during the 17th century.23 Slowly, very small amounts were shipped to wealthy homes in the three major cities of Osaka, Kyoto, and Edo (today Tokyo), where it was consumed after meals. Starting in the 1850s, a few curious Japanese attempted to brew beer for themselves, based on descriptions in books on “Dutch learning” (Rangaku).24 The bitter flavor of beer was an acquired taste for most consumers, who were accustomed to sake and sweet Chinese wines, but it gradually made inroads with the few who could afford to try it. After Japan opened to foreign trade and limited foreign settlement in the late 1850s, English and German beers were imported by ship to satisfy the demands of resident foreigners. Most beer was sold in taverns in the foreigner districts of the few port cities that were open to settlement, and the rest was sold in “Western liquor shops” (yōshu-ya).25

Steadily, more Japanese experimented with beer brewing during the 1870s and 1880s, especially those already experienced at brewing miso, sake, and shōyu (soy sauce). Some had limited success, but over seventy small brewers managed to serve their local regions, just as had been done by local European inns and taverns for centuries. A small handful of these early Japanese firms survive. The first is Kirin Beer, which was first founded by William Copeland in Yokohama as the Spring Valley Brewery in 1869 or 1870. The second is Sapporo Beer, which began on Hokkaido as the government’s Kaitakushi (Colonization Office) Brewery in 1876 and was privately reorganized in 1887 as the Sapporo Breweries Company. By 1901, these two brewers competed with over a hundred others, prompting Japan’s government to consolidate the nascent industry and prepare it for international competition by imposing a steep production tax. The new levee of ¥7 per koku (180.3 liters), due at the point of bottling, was so costly that all but two dozen brewers were driven from the market virtually overnight.26 Among the survivors were two firms that agreed in 1906 to merge with Sapporo, giving the goliath new brewer, Dai Nippon (Greater Japan) Beer, significant market share. The other two brewers were Tokyo’s Nippon (Japan) Beer Brewery Company (est. 1887), maker of “Yebisu” beer, and the Osaka Beer Company (est. 1889), maker of “Asahi” beer. With large plants located in Sapporo, Tokyo, and Osaka, Dai Nippon’s stable of popular beers could now ship almost nationwide.

Though poised for steady growth in beer sales as living standards gradually crept upward, Japan produced just a fraction of the raw ingredients necessary to brew it. Given beer’s dominant European character, however, little effort was made to remedy this shortfall. Beer was very consciously advertised and sold as a Western commodity, and doing so necessitated that Japan’s brewers be able to claim that they used imported European ingredients. As no brewer wished to be seen as the maker of an inferior product, they maintained the public perception that domestically produced beer was every bit as good as European imports.27

Steadily, Japan’s brewers imported newer equipment from Europe, and they hired German brewmasters to set up their plants, train workers, and maintain rigid adherence to the Reinheitsgebot, or the German “Beer Purity Law” of 1516.28 Established at a time when European water supplies were often fetid but fermented beer could be relied upon for purity, the law required that beer be made strictly from water, malts, hops, and yeast.29 The German brewmasters hired to work in Japan followed these traditions closely, and even the factory designs were German in character. As their imposing brick walls and tall chimneys rose above the skylines of Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo, they transformed the appearance of Japan’s burgeoning industrial cities.30 In 1875, a bureaucrat named Nakagawa Seibi, who was among the first Japanese brewers to be trained in Germany, took a position in Sapporo with the Agricultural Section of the Hokkaido Colonization Office. In addition to mines and factories, the government’s Hokkaido development plan called for the erection of food and textile mills, one of which was slated to be a brewery. The first batch, initially named “Sapporo Cold Beer,” was finished in 1877.

Beer’s popularity rose throughout the early 20th century, as beer salons, beer halls, and seasonal outdoor beer gardens attracted thousands of patrons. The major brewers each hosted large beer gardens in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto in the summer months, where staff would teach unfamiliar tourists about beer. Though it remained much too costly for the average worker, Japanese of means slowly came to enjoy beer more regularly. Over time, tourists and conference-goers flocked to the breweries, often by invitation, where they could learn about beer, sample the wares, and take knowledge of the new beverage home to every corner of Japan. Sapporo’s strategy focused on gifting beer to Japan’s ruling elites, including ministers, military leadership, and even members of the imperial family. As the elite classes came to appreciate beer, its prestige increased, and gradually it became a staple at urban teahouses, restaurants, and Western-styled hotel bars and taverns.31

All the while, however, Japan’s brewers were careful to market their beer as equivalent to Western imports. Even as delivery trucks debuted during the early 20th century, the breweries also maintained fleets of horses and wagons, knowing well that this was the traditional means of delivering beer in Europe. Beer was advertised chiefly in the newspapers, but also via handbills, leaflets, signboards, and hand-painted lithograph posters. These posters showcased a variety of themes, including traditionally dressed Japanese women, so-called modern girls in Western fashions and hairstyles, and an array of Western images like airplanes, sailboats, and dancing girls. The themes of freedom and modern living highlighted by these ads were unmistakable, and although the Japan Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) had been around since the 1880s, its members never truly subscribed to the idea of alcohol prohibition, for sake had long been a part of Japanese culture. Beer sales kept rising even after the First World War (1914–1918), despite a brief postwar recession, and the number and variety of bars and taverns continued to increase. Even factory workers, who primarily drank inexpensive sake, came to afford beer more regularly during the 1920s and 1930s.

The Second World War (1939–1945) was a challenging period for Japan’s beer producers, but beer would remain available throughout the war era, despite the rationing and privation that most civilians endured. As rice was a grade-A foodstuff, Japan’s sake breweries were shuttered by government order in 1940, but barley, being a grade-B foodstuff, remained available for beer production until the spring of 1945. Beer was brewed in great quantities for distribution to soldiers at the front and to the sailors aboard Japan’s many warships, and Japanese consumers could purchase beer, at fixed prices, in retail shops and bars. Families were issued ration cards good for two 720 ml bottles of beer per month, and cups of beer were issued to factory workers at special beer halls—largely for propaganda purposes. Japan’s Ministry of Finance reengineered the entire brewing industry in order to maximize both efficiency and tax revenue, for beer served as a vital source of revenue in support of Japan’s war effort. By 1941, the government essentially became a state brewer, distributor, and seller of beer, and in 1943, the ministry abolished individual beer labels and unified the industry under a single brand: “Beer” (bakushu—literally “barley wine”). Although costlier bars and restaurants were closed down by emergency war measures in 1944, beer was still served in cafeterias, ration-card restaurants, and occasional “people’s bars” set up on a temporary basis through early 1945.32

During the war, most of the handful of remaining brewers were shuttered or merged on the orders of Japan’s military government. By the time of Japan’s surrender in August 1945, only Kirin and Dai Nippon were still in business. Though they had continued to produce beer for military personnel and civilians throughout the war (beer was part of every household’s monthly ration of foodstuffs), both were forced by spring 1945 to produce fuel alcohol. Beer production resumed in the postwar as Japan worked to serve the needs of Occupation forces, but prices remained fixed, and the black market was heavily involved in the beer trade through the late 1940s.33 The market’s recovery was delayed in the early postwar by extreme privation, coal and food shortages, and widespread poverty. Production would recover slowly, however, and beer halls and taverns were reopened to Japanese patrons in June 1949. Still, the character of beer was altered by the material shortages of the war era. Like beers in other nations, its flavor grew lighter due to rationing, and a ban on bittering or flavoring agents, and spotty hops production.34 The altered flavor did not prove unpopular, however. In fact, the lighter taste was much more appealing to women and young people—groups that had typically avoided the darker, bitterer brews of the prewar era.35 Given its newfound popularity, the brewers have maintained the lighter flavor of their flagship lagers ever since.

Japan’s Postwar Beer Market

In 1949, Dai Nippon split into two firms: Asahi Breweries and Nippon Beer, which divided their brands and plants 50-50.36 The latter company would return to its former name, Sapporo Breweries, in the 1970s. Together, they trailed Kirin Beer, which would remain the market leader until the mid-1980s. Only two other firms, the liquor distillers Takara and Suntory, would enter the postwar beer market, in 1957 and 1963, respectively. Takara withdrew in 1967, but Suntory carries on brewing beer today. Meanwhile, competition from foreign imports has been nearly absent. Since 1945, no more than 3 percent of beers sold in Japan have been foreign imports, most of which are brewed under license in Japan by domestic firms.

Beer’s image in Japan was deeply transformed by the war. After the Holocaust, the idea of advertising any product’s adherence to strict German purity laws became unthinkable. Additionally, the Occupation period (1945–1952) was a time during which Japan enjoyed no sovereignty or any foreign relations, especially not with Germany, its former Axis partner. Given this separation, Japan’s brewers dispensed with the pretense that beer was a European product, and they began advertising it using images of Japanese vistas, personalities, and art forms, rather than stodgy German brewmasters. Radio ads began in 1951, along with proprietary newspapers, five-second television commercials, and colorful print and poster campaigns by Japanese artists, many of which imitated American and European ad stylings. Slowly, beer advertising would target smaller market segments, such as single women with rising incomes. In 1957, the Yomiuri newspaper noted that the “postwar generation of new women” liked to visit outdoor and rooftop beer gardens in groups, without male escorts.37 Other ads targeted young people with leisure time, and men seeking status and prestige. Some campaigns equated drinking to excess with power and masculinity, helping to make the practice socially acceptable.38 When Asahi introduced the beer can in 1958, they were marketed as a masculine option, and by 1960 every brand was sold in cans as well as in bottles.39

In 1958, one of Kirin’s reps told market reporters “The younger generation does not like sake. They like beer because the alcoholic content is not high. Sake is usually consumed with a small snack, such as raw fish. Drinking beer is more pleasurable because a snack is not necessary. Last year, beer sales increased in 47 of the 48 prefectures in Japan.”40 Beer production reached 1.99 million kiloliters (kL) in 1960, a 500 percent increase over 1955, making beer a “public commodity” in the eyes of consumers.41 Whisky sales also rose 30 percent to 55,000 kL in that year, but sales of shōchū liquor fell from 280,000 kL to 220,000 kL, revealing a shift in consumer tastes.42 As the economy continued to improve, more families could afford indoor heaters and refrigerators, thus enabling further beer consumption at home during winter.43 The number of bars and restaurants likewise exploded during the postwar era, rising from just 25,600 in 1944 to 212,300 in 1959.44

To satisfy the skyrocketing demand, Japan’s brewers opened new production facilities across the country. Whereas there were just three firms with a total of thirteen plants in 1952, by 1963 there were five firms operating a total of twenty-one plants. Even on Okinawa, in the Ryūkyū Islands, a local firm called Orion Breweries was established in 1957.45 Importantly, foreign beers never accounted for more than 3 percent of the market, for Japan’s brewers controlled the domestic market and the country’s distribution network.46 During this period of “high-speed economic growth,” many consumers expressed a certain longing for simpler times, which prompted Sapporo to revive its historic “Yebisu” brand with a nostalgic campaign that harkened back to the prewar years.47 It was such a hit with consumers that it remains Sapporo’s premium line today.

By the 1970s, the former focus on German brewing tradition was a distant memory, replaced by a focus on clever marketing, innovative packaging, celebrity spokespersons, and occasional fads, such as the “draft beer” war of 1977.48 Where Western liquors accounted for just 17 percent of alcoholic beverage sales in 1950, that figure topped 63 percent by 1975, a nearly fourfold increase, led by beer, and followed by whisky.49 The rising popularity of vending machines expanded beer sales even further, and although the brewers would experiment with light beer recipes and attempt to revive darker beers like stouts, the classic lager remained the principal brew. That is, until 1987, when Asahi, the perennial third-place brewer behind Kirin and Sapporo, decided to upset the status quo.

Innovation in Japan’s Beer Market since 1987

Since the war, Japan’s brewers had carefully maintained an informal beer cartel designed to prevent a recurrence of the ruinous price wars that were commonplace during the prewar era. To achieve this, the brewers agreed that competition was permitted in the arenas of product styling, packaging, advertising, and so on, but price-point competition was forbidden. All of the brewers sold their beers for exactly the same price in stores, and their prices rose in lock-step, typically by ¥10 per bottle or can each year. Kirin remained the market leader throughout the 1960s and 1970s, which enabled it to set the pace of these incremental price rises, which typically came in the autumn, after the high point of the summer beer sales season. As the dominant firm, Kirin became somewhat complacent, which presented Asahi with an opportunity. The company president sidelined his senior managers and gave innovative middle managers a chance to experiment. These middle managers were keen to take risks, and they tried developing a new-tasting beer, which tested extremely well with younger consumers who were bored by the unchanging flavors of Japan’s dominant lagers. Consumers reported that the dry, crisp taste of Asahi’s new brew complemented the heavier flavors of modern cuisine very well, and Asahi named it “Super Dry.”50 The new brew was an explosive hit, and within three years Asahi was Japan’s number one brewer. Kirin’s market dominance was over, and so too was the lockstep retail pricing system. The “dry beer” wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s even caught on with Canadian and American brewers, before they moved on to selling cold-filtered “ice beers” instead.

In 1994, Japan’s government chose to shake up the beer industry by lowering the minimum annual production requirement for a brewing license from 2,000 kL to just 60 kL.51 This prompted hundreds of small craft brewers to enter the beer market, which peaked at 242 new entrants in 1998. Many of them were named for local cities or regions, while others dusted off old brewery names that had disappeared before 1900.52 Together they issued over a thousand new brands that slowly reintroduced ales, porters, and wheat beers to consumers who had not known such recipes for generations. Despite the market shakeup, many of these young firms found it very difficult to turn a profit, especially as Japan’s beer production tax is over ¥200 per liter, nearly half of the sale price. As a result, nearly 30 percent of the new market entrants left the business by the year 2000.53 Many of the survivors realized that in order to succeed, they needed to capture more links in the value chain by both brewing and selling their beer online for home consumption, or in creative brew-pub restaurants, which have grown very popular with consumers in recent years.54 Although craft brewing is a continual media darling, craft beers account for little more than 1 percent of Japan’s annual beer production. The top brewers not only continue to dominate the domestic market through their control over the distribution chain and the nation’s retail shelf space, they are also experimenting with craft beer flavors in order to retain their more adventurous consumers.

In the meantime, however, the top brewers have also undercut their own market for beer by selling competing beerlike products made with limited or even no malts. Influenced at the outset by the German tradition that beer must contain two-thirds malted barley by grist weight, Japan’s Ministry of Finance has maintained that definition in its tax code since the 19th century. Even today, any product containing less than 67 percent malts does not qualify as beer and is therefore not taxed as much as beer. In order to avoid paying the costly beer production tax, the brewers began to test this law in 1994 by brewing products with 65 percent malts, followed by 50 percent, 25 percent, and sub-25 percent malts brews. Known as “happoshu” (sparkling spirit), these low-malt brews are less costly to produce, retail for about half the price of “full malt” beer, and carry roughly 60 percent of the beer tax. (In 2016, a 350 ml can was taxed ¥77, while the same-sized cans of happoshu and third-type beer were taxed ¥47 and ¥28, respectively.55) Happoshu quickly became so popular with frugal consumers that annual sales of “real” beer fell by more than half between 1994 and 2009 (from 7.13 million kL to 3.01 million kL). The sub-25-percent malts brews, known as “third-type” beer, face an even lower tax rate. Unlike craft beers produced by rival firms, happoshu is sold in convenience stores throughout Japan, for the top brewers control their fridge space. Conversely, however, craft beers may now be found in bars and restaurants around the country, while cheap happoshu is virtually unavailable in such establishments. Eager to restore balance and recoup lost tax revenue, Japan’s government plans to begin taxing all beerlike products at the uniform rate of ¥55 by 2026.56 Until then, many consumers preferring more money to less will continue to reach for the less expensive alternatives, despite their sometimes questionable flavors.

Conclusion: The Transformation of Western Liquors into Domestic Commodities

During the 1880s and 1890s, Western liquor gained an early foothold among Japan’s wealthy consumers seeking to emulate Western fashions and behaviors. By hosting elegant parties and balls, Japan’s diplomatic corps sought actively to convince foreign dignitaries that Japanese understood and appreciated such Western practices as smoking cigars and cigarettes, drinking beers and liquors, and eating meat. This was part of a determined plan to demonstrate that Japan was a culturally, politically, and technologically sophisticated nation deserving of Great Power status.57 The early credibility gained by Western liquors gradually extended into ordinary Japanese life, and entrepreneurs who hosted tourists at their urban breweries were selling not only beer, but also the opportunity enhance their sophistication. Given their cost and prestige, knowledge and appreciation of Western liquors like beer and whisky was significant cultural capital in the early 20th century. By the early 1930s, more working-class Japanese could afford to drink beer on occasion, and though the Second World War era erased much of that progress, Japan’s economy roared again by the 1960s. As living standards rose, so too did the popularity of beer and whisky, which had shed much if not all of their foreign character. Like fashions and automobiles, consumers no longer cared where these commodities had been “invented,” and their Western origins mattered little anymore. By the 1970s and 1980s, Japan’s economic progress had enabled nearly every adult consumer to afford such luxuries, sometimes to excess.58 Like consumers everywhere, they wished to look into the mirror of beer and liquor advertising and see themselves.

Discussion of the Literature

Literature on Japan’s Whisky Trade

Until Jeffrey W. Alexander’s 2017 chapter on Japan’s whisky industry and the growth of its postwar Western liquor culture (yōshu shakai), there was no English-language source on this market.59 Previous English-language literature on Japan’s whisky trade, its distillers, and its consumers was limited. However, Taketsuru Masataka, the founder of Nikka K.K., has been the focus of some attention in recent years. In 2015, Japan’s state broadcaster, NHK, aired a popular drama about him and his Scottish wife, Jessie Roberta “Rita” Cowan.60 Taketsuru’s career was also explored by Olive Checkland, a Scottish social historian who authored a book on Taketsuru’s passion for whisky making, based on a wide array of primary-source material that she collected and that was translated by others.61 To draft his 2017 book on alcohol and drug use in Japan, Alexander sought out Japanese-language interviews, articles, essays, and related business literature found at the National Diet Library in Tokyo.62 The library’s collection includes additional writing by, and interviews with, several leading executives at Suntory K.K. Beyond these, Alexander also translated an array sources on Japan’s postwar Western liquor culture. These include profiles of 1950s-era whisky bars in architectural journals, sources on the postwar evolution of drinking establishments, and the creative handbills and fliers that promoted their wares.

Literature on Japan’s Beer Trade

Until the 2013 publication of Jeffrey W. Alexander’s research monograph on Japan’s beer industry, this subject too was the focus of little scholarly work in English.63 Prior to that Joseph Alphonse Laker defended an unpublished doctoral dissertation on Japan’s prewar beer industry in 1975, Stephen R. Smith published a 1992 chapter on drinking etiquette in Japan, Harald Fuess authored a 2006 chapter on the prewar beer market, and Penelope Francks published a 2009 article on beer, sake, and consumerism in Japan. She also briefly discussed these themes in her 2009 monograph on the birth of the Japanese consumer.64 These are the principal English-language works on the subject, which are complemented by a host of business-school case studies that focus on the competitive strategies of Japan’s top brewers during the 1970s and 1980s. In Japanese, the literature on Japan’s beer industry is much more robust and includes a wide array of historical and technical sources.65 There is also a useful study of the “Japanization” (Nihonka) of imported Western beverages.66 In preparing his monograph, Alexander translated and incorporated a broad collection of contemporary newspaper reports, print advertisements, market analyses, photographs, museum collections, travel literature, technical publications, published memoirs, and scholarly Japanese-language literature.

Primary Sources

Japanese-language primary sources on Japan’s Western-liquor markets take the form of autobiographies, memoirs, interviews, and corporate literature known as shashi, or “company histories.” Most major Japanese companies publish official histories on their major anniversaries, and though they are promotional in nature and must be read carefully, they feature a great deal of data and important information on their markets, products, and consumers.67 Many of Japan’s top firms have been in business for as long as three hundred years, which gives them valuable perspectives on Japan’s economic, industrial, and even social history. Other company literature takes the form of online biographies, as well as product and brand histories, all of which is chiefly promotional in nature, albeit informative.68

There are also several Japanese-language memoirs and articles by and interviews with former executives who worked for Japan’s leading beer brewers—especially Suntory, Asahi, and Kirin.69 Notable authors include Takanori Nakajō, who was president of Asahi Breweries when the company launched “Super Dry,” as well as Saji Keizō, the second president of Suntory K.K., who launched Torys Whisky and oversaw the proliferation of whisky bars in the 1950s and 1960s. Other executives include Yanagihara Ryōhei, the artist who produced thousands of drawings for Suntory advertisements, including the famous character Uncle Torys. Complete autobiographies are rare, with the only example being that by Taketsuru Masataka, the founder of Nikka K.K. In 1972, Taketsuru authored a Japanese-language autobiography, Uisukii to watashi (Whisky and I), in which he describes how he became one of Japan’s first distillers.70

Further Reading

Alexander, Jeffrey W.Brewed in Japan: The Evolution of the Japanese Beer Industry, Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2013.Find this resource:

Alexander, Jeffrey W.Drinking Bomb and Shooting Meth: Alcohol and Drug Use in Japan, Ann Arbor, MI: “Asia Shorts” series by the Association for Asian Studies, 2017.Find this resource:

Checkland, Olive. Japanese Whisky, Scotch Blend: The Story of Masataka Taketsuru, his Scottish Wife, and the Japanese Whisky Industry. Edinburgh, U.K.: Scottish Cultural Press, 1998.Find this resource:

Francks, Penelope. “Inconspicuous Consumption: Sake, Beer, and the Birth of the Consumer in Japan,” Journal of Asian Studies 68.1 (February 2009): 135–164.Find this resource:

Francks, Penelope. The Japanese Consumer: An Alternative Economic History of Modern Japan. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Fuess, Harald. “Investment, Importation, and Innovation: Genesis and Growth of Beer Corporations in Pre-war Japan.” In Institutional and Technological Change in Japan’s Economy: Past and Present. Edited by Janet Hunter and Cornelia Storz, 43–59. London: Routledge, 2006.Find this resource:

Laker, Joseph Alphonse. “Entrepreneurship and the Development of the Japanese Beer Industry, 1872–1937.” PhD diss., Indiana University, 1975.Find this resource:

Paul, A. Christensen. Japan, Alcoholism, and Masculinity: Suffering Sobriety in Tokyo. New York: Lexington Books, 2015.Find this resource:

Smith, Stephen R. “Drinking Etiquette in a Changing Beverage Market.” In Re-Made in Japan: Everyday Life and Consumer Taste in a Changing Society. Edited by Joseph J. Tobin, 143–159. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.Find this resource:

Taketsuru, Masataka. Uisukii to watashi [Whisky and I]. Tokyo: Nikka Uisukii K.K., 1972.Find this resource:

Notes:

(1.) Dallas Finn, “Reassessing the Rokumeikan,” in Challenging Past and Present: The Metamorphosis of Nineteenth-Century Japanese Art, ed. Ellen P. Conant (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2006), 227–239; and Toby Slade, Japanese Fashion: A Cultural History (London: Berg, 2009), 95–96.

(2.) Suntory K.K., Santorii hyakunenshi [100 Year History of Suntory] (Tokyo: Suntory K.K., 1999), 66.

(3.) Suntory K.K., “Japaniizu uisukii monogatari” [The Story of Japanese Whisky], part 1; and Suntory K.K., “Brand Story”.

(4.) Taketsuru Masataka, Uisukii to watashi [Whisky and I] (Tokyo: Nikka Uisukii K.K., 1972).

(5.) Nikka K.K., “Biography of Taketsuru Masataka.” Displayed at the visitor’s center at the Nikka distillery in Yoichi, Japan. Photographed by the author, July 12, 2008; and Taketsuru Masataka, Uisukii to watashi, 23.

(6.) Nikka K.K., “Biography of Taketsuru Masataka.”

(7.) Suntory K.K., “Brand Story.”

(8.) Suntory K.K., “Japaniizu uisukii monogatari”[The Story of Japanese Whisky], part 3.

(9.) Hirosawa Masaru, Atarashiki koto, omoshiroki koto: Santorii—Saji Keizō den [New Thing, Interesting Thing: Suntory and Saji Keizō] (Tokyo: Bungei Shunjū, 2006), 82.

(10.) Today the food-sciences lab survives in the Suntory Foundation for Life Sciences. Sakuma Hiromi, “Seikatsu bunka kigyō taiseisha: Saji Keizō, 1919–1999”[Achiever of Perfection in Culture and Business: Saji Keizō, 1919–1999], in Kanagawa Library, ed., Shashi to denki ni miru: Nihon no jitsugyōka: Jinbutsu deeta to bunken annai (Looking at Company Histories and Biographies: Industrialists of Japan: A Guide to Biographical Data and Literature), Kanagawa, JP: Kanagawa Library, 2012.

(11.) “Showa 31 (1956): Kōdo seichō ha Torisu baa kara Saji Keizō” [Showa 31 (1956): Saji Keizō, Torys Bars, and Rapid Growth], Chūō kōron [Central Review] 110.7 (April 1995): 53.

(12.) “Kotobukiya sendenbu: Sengo no kaita ankuru torisu tachi” [The Kotobukiya advertising department: postwar opening with Uncle Torys], Kōkoku hihyō [Advertising Review] (December 1996): 57; and Okada Yoshiō, “Kōkoku medeia kai no ishizue o kizuita hitobito: No. 33, Kaikō Takeshi and Yamaguchi Hitomi” [The People Who Built the Foundation of the Advertising and Media World: No. 33, Kaikō Takeshi and Yamaguchi Hitomi] in Senden kaigi [Advertising Conference] 869 (March 2014): 139.

(13.) “Showa 31 (1956): Kōdo seichō ha Torisu baa kara Saji Keizō,” 53.

(14.) Hirosawa Masaru, 83.

(15.) “Showa 31 (1956): Kōdo seichō ha Torisu baa kara Saji Keizō,” 53.

(16.) Yanagihara Ryōhei, “Torisu baa” [Torys Bars], Bungei shunjū (May 2006): 322.

(17.) Okada Yoshiō, 141.

(18.) Hirosawa Masaru, p. 83.

(19.) Miki Yōnosuke, “Kaiei ha kekka: bunka kaeieisha no Saji Keizō rae no hyōka” [Enterprise Results: Assessing Management Culture with Saji Keizō], from the series “Keiei hyōron roku jū yon en no butaiha” [Behind the Scenes Review of Over 60 Years in Business”], Zaikai [Financial World], December 7, 1999, 92.

(20.) Suntory K.K., Santorii hyakunenshi, 118.

(21.) Saji Keizō, “‘Teiku chiyansu’ ha keieisha no shigoto”[Taking Chances Is a Manager’s Job], Will (April 1984): 33.

(23.) Ueda Toshirō, Biiru tengoku [Beer Heaven] (Tokyo: Bokusho, 1963), 47.

(24.) Umesao Tadao, Yoshida Shūji, and Paul Gordon Schalow, Alcoholic Beverages, Japanese Civilization in the Modern World 18 (Osaka: National Museum of Ethnology, 2003), 55.

(25.) Asahi Shimbun [Asahi newspaper, Osaka], July 4, 1883, 4.

(26.) Kirin biiru K.K., Kirin biiru KK gojū nenshi [Kirin Brewery Company, Inc.: Fifty-Year History] (Tokyo: Kirin biiru K.K., 1957), 49–50.

(27.) Kirin biiru, Kirin biiru KK gojū nenshi, 33–34; Asahi biiru K.K., Asahi 100 (Tokyo: Asahi biiru K.K., 1990), p. 203.

(28.) Katō Kazuyasu, “Growing in a World of Change,” in Rediscovering Japanese Business Leadership: 15 Japanese Managers and the Companies They’re Leading to New Growth, ed. Hasegawa Yōzō (Singapore: John Wiley, 2011), 96. For further discussion of foreign experts assisting in Japan’s early brewing industry, see Naitō Hiroshi, “Meijiki biiru gyōkai ni okeru gaikokujin gijutsusha no keifu: Yebisu biiru no baii ni” [The Genealogy of Foreign Engineers in the Meiji-Era Japanese Beer Industry: The Case of Yebisu Beer], Keiei shigaku [Japan Business History Review] 29.4 (January 1995): 58–75.

(29.) Harald Fuess, “Investment, Importation, and Innovation: Genesis and Growth of Beer Corporations in Pre-war Japan,” in Institutional and Technological Change in Japan’s Economy: Past and Present, eds. Janet Hunter and Cornelia Storz (London: Routledge, 2006), 51.

(31.) For further discussion of early Western-style saloons and beer salons, see Ishiguro Keishichi, Biiru monogatari [The History of Beer] (Tokyo: Shinmaisho, 1961), 62–63.

(32.) Asahi Shimbun, May 5, 1944, 3.

(33.) Sapporo biiru K.K., Sapporo 120 nenshi [120-Year History of Sapporo Breweries] (Tokyo: Sapporo biiru K.K., 1996), 320.

(34.) Sapporo biiru, Sapporo 120 nenshi, 298.

(35.) For further discussion of the drinking patterns of Japanese women and men, see Julia Adeney Thomas, “Women and Wine in Japan,” Wine and Spirits (March 1988); Kirin biiru, Kirin biiru KK gojū nenshi, 165.

(36.) Burton Crane, “Zaibatsu Breakup Nearly Completed: Decentralization Board Names Only 50 Japanese Companies on Its List Awaiting Action,” New York Times, January 15, 1949.

(37.) Yomiuri Shimbun, July 9, 1957, 6.

(38.) Sapporo biiru, Sapporo 120 nenshi, 781.

(39.) Jōzō sangyō shimbun-sha henshū kyokuhen [Brewing Industry Newspaper Company Editing Bureau], ed., Shurui sangyo sanjunen: Sengo hatten no kiseki [Thirty-Year History of the Alcoholic Beverage Industry: The Path of Postwar Development] (Tokyo: Yamazaki shuppansha, 1983), 13.

(40.) “Japs Becoming Beer Drinkers,” Petersburg (VA) Progress-Index, September 7, 1958, 20.

(41.) Sapporo biiru, Sapporo 120 nenshi, 785; and Asahi Shimbun, March 26, 1953.

(42.) Sapporo biiru, Sapporo 120 nenshi, 379–380.

(43.) Asahi nenkan [Asahi Almanac], cited in Sapporo biiru, Sapporo 120 nenshi, 380.

(44.) Sapporo biiru, Sapporo 120 nenshi, 380.

(45.) Orion biiru K.K., Orion yonjūnen no ayumi [Forty-Year History of Orion Breweries] (Naha: Orion biiru K.K., 1967), 15.

(46.) Ron Sanchez, “Analyzing Internal and Competitor Competences: Resources, Capabilities, and Management Processes,” in The Oxford Handbook of Strategy, eds. David O. Faulkner and Andrew Campbell (New York: Oxford University Press, 2006), 350–377; and John Sutton, Sunk Costs and Market Structure: Price Competition, Advertising, and the Evolution of Concentration (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991), 530.

(47.) Sapporo biiru, Sapporo 120 nenshi, 43.

(48.) Inokuchi Osami, Anrāningu kakumei: Kirin bīru no asu o yomu [Unlearning Revolution: Reading Kirin Brewery’s tomorrow] (Tokyo: Daiyamondo-sha, 1992), 26–27.

(49.) Andrew Gordon, Postwar Japan as History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993), 275–277.

(50.) Matsui, Takaga biiru saredo biiru, 8; Malcolm S. Salter and Jiro Kokuryo, Asahi Breweries Ltd., Harvard Business Case Study (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business Publishing, 1989).

(51.) Brewers Association of Japan, “History of the Japanese Beer Industry”.

(52.) Ogata Fusako, “Breweries (Japan),” in Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History: An International Encyclopedia, vol. 1, eds. Jack S. Blocker, David M. Fahey, and Ian R. Tyrrell (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2003), 415.

(53.) OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Centre for Tax Policy and Administration, “Table IV.3, Taxation of beer (2007),” Tax Database.

(54.) OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) Centre for Tax Policy and Administration), “Table IV.3, Taxation of beer (2007),” Tax Database.

(56.) “LDP Agrees to Unify Tax Rates on Beer, Similar Alcoholic Drinks.”

(57.) Dallas Finn, “Reassessing the Rokumeikan,” 2009.

(58.) Paul A. Christensen, Japan, Alcoholism, and Masculinity: Suffering Sobriety in Tokyo (New York: Lexington Books, 2015).

(59.) See chapter one of Jeffrey W. Alexander, Drinking Bomb and Shooting Meth: Alcohol and Drug Use in Japan (Ann Arbor, MI: “Asia Shorts” series by the Association for Asian Studies, 2017).

(61.) Olive Checkland, Japanese Whisky, Scotch Blend: The Story of Masataka Taketsuru, His Scottish Wife, and the Japanese Whisky Industry (Edinburgh: Scottish Cultural Press, 1998).

(62.) Hirosawa Masaru, Atarashiki koto, omoshiroki koto: Santorii—Saji Keizō den [New Thing, Interesting Thing: Suntory and Saji Keizō] (Tokyo: Bungei Shunjū, 2006), 79; Sakuma Hiromi, “Seikatsu bunka kigyō taiseisha: Saji Keizō, 1919–1999” [Achiever of Perfection in Culture and Business: Saji Keizō, 1919–1999], in Shashi to denki ni miru: Nihon no jitsugyōka: Jinbutsu deeta to bunken annai [Looking at Company Histories and Biographies: Industrialists of Japan: A Guide to Biographical Data and Literature], ed. Kanagawa Library (Kanagawa: Kanagawa Library, 2012); Hirosawa Masaru, Atarashiki koto, omoshiroki koto: Santorii—Saji Keizō den [Something New, Something Interesting: Suntory and Saji Keizō] (Tokyo: Bungei Shunjū, 2006), 78–79; “Kotobukiya sendenbu: Sengo no kaita ankuru torisu tachi” [The Kotobukiya Advertising Department: Postwar Opening with Uncle Torys], Kōkoku hihyō [Advertising Review], December 1996, 57; and Okada Yoshiō, “Kōkoku medeia kai no ishizue o kizuita hitobito: No. 33, Kaikō Takeshi and Yamaguchi Hitomi” [The People Who Built the Foundation of the Advertising and Media World: No. 33, Kaikō Takeshi and Yamaguchi Hitomi] Senden kaigi [Advertising Conference] 869 (March 2014): 139; “Torisubaa Mifuku, Ikebukuro, Tokyo,” Kindai Kenchiku [Modern Architecture], September 9, 1955, 30–31; “Torys Bar ‘Lion’” in Kenchiku shashin No. 53, Baa 2. [Graphic Architecture, No. 53, Bar 2], ed. H. Kitao (Tokyo: Shokokusha, 1957), 48–51; Suzuki Mitsufumi, “Umai yōshu ni kanpai: Torisu baa to Nikka baa” [Toasting with Good Western Liquor: Torys Bars and Nikka Bars], Zatsugaku no bōken [Adventures in Trivia] 10 (March 1998): 176; Miki Yōnosuke, “Kaiei ha kekka: bunka kaeieisha no Saji Keizō rae no hyōka” [Enterprise Results: Assessing Management Culture with Saji Keizō] from the series “Keiei hyōron roku jū yon en no butaiha” [“Behind the Scenes Review of Over 60 Years in Business”], Zaikai [Financial World], December 7, 1999, 92;

(63.) Jeffrey W. Alexander, Brewed in Japan: The Evolution of the Japanese Beer Industry (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2013)

(64.) Joseph Alphonse Laker, “Entrepreneurship and the Development of the Japanese Beer Industry, 1872–1937” (Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1975); Stephen R. Smith, “Drinking Etiquette in a Changing Beverage Market,” in Re-made in Japan: Everyday Life and Consumer Taste in a Changing Society, ed. Joseph J. Tobin (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992), 143–159; Harald Fuess, “Investment, Importation, and Innovation: Genesis and Growth of Beer Corporations in Pre-war Japan,” in Institutional and Technological Change in Japan’s Economy: Past and Present, eds. Janet Hunter and Cornelia Storz (London: Routledge, 2006), 43–59; Penelope Francks, “Inconspicuous Consumption: Sake, Beer, and the Birth of the Consumer in Japan,” Journal of Asian Studies 68.1 (February 2009): 135–164; and cjs/ 4 and 5 of Penelope Francks, The Japanese Consumer: An Alternative Economic History of Modern Japan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009).

(65.) Miyake Yūzō, Biiru kigyō shi [A History of the Beer Industry] (Tokyo: Mitakisha, 1977); Inagaki Masami, Nihon no biiru [Japanese neer] (Tokyo: Chūō kōronsha, 1978); Kirin biiru K.K., ed., Biiru to Nihonjin: Meiji/Taishō/Shōwa fukyūshi [Beer and the Japanese: A Broad Meiji/Taishō/Shōwa History] (Tokyo: Sanseidō, 1984); Endo Kazuō, Nihon no gijutsu, 10: Biiru no 100 nen [Historical Technology in Japan, vol. 10: 100 Years of Beer] (Tokyo: Daiichi hōki shuppansha, 1989); Kaidō Mamoru, Yōshū, biiru [Western Liquor, Beer] (Tokyo: Jitsumu kyōiku shuppansha, 1989); Naitō Hiroshi, “Meijiki biiru gyōkai ni okeru gaikokujin gijutsusha no keifu: Yebisu biiru no baii ni” [The Genealogy of Foreign Engineers in the Meiji-Era Japanese Beer Industry: The Case of Yebisu Beer], Keiei shigaku [Japan Business History Review] 29.4 (January 1995): 58–75; Tanji Yuichi, “Dai Nippon bakushu no keiei to hanbaimo, 1906–1939” [The Marketing Policy of Dai Nippon Brewery Co., 1906–1939], Shakai keizai shigaku [Socioeconomic History] 67.3 (January 2001): 3–26.

(66.) Kōno Shōzō, Bijinesu no seisei: Seiryō inryō no Nihonka [Business Creation: The Japanization of Cool Beverages] (Tokyo: Bunshindō, 2002).

(67.) See especially Kirin biiru K.K., Kirin biiru KK gojū nenshi [Kirin Brewery Company, Inc.: Fifty-Year History] (Tokyo: Kirin biiru K.K., 20 March 1957); Orion biiru K.K., Jūnen no ayumi: Orion biiru KK [Ten-Year History of Orion Breweries] (Naha: Orion biiru K.K., 1967); Orion biiru K.K., Orion yonjūnen no ayumi [Forty-Year History of Orion Breweries] (Naha: Orion biiru K.K., 1998); Sapporo biiru K.K., Sapporo 120 nenshi [120-Year History of Sapporo Breweries] (Tokyo: Sapporo biiru K.K., 1996); Suntory K.K., Hibi ni arata ni: Santori hyakunenshi [Fresh Every Day: 100-Year History of Suntory] (Osaka: Suntory K.K., 1999); and Asahi biiru K.K., Asahi 100 (Tokyo: Asahi biiru K.K., 1990); and Suntory K.K., Santorii hyakunenshi [100 Year History of Suntory] (Tokyo: Suntory K.K., 1999).

(69.) Memoirs include Takanori Nakajō, Risshi no keiei: Asahi biiru fukkatsu no genten to waga bijinesu jinsei [Management Success: The Starting Point of Asahi Breweries’ Comeback and My Business Life] (Tokyo: Chichi shuppansha K.K., 1993); Nishimura Akira, Asahi biiru no keiei senryaku [Asahi Breweries’ Management Strategy] (Tokyo: Tachibana shuppansha K.K., 1999); Takanori Nakajō, Asahi biiru kishi kaisei no keiei senryaku to jinsei tetsugaku [The Management Strategies and the Philosophy of Life Behind the Revival of Asahi Breweries], Heihō ni manabu: Katsu tame ni nasubeki koto [Lessons in the Art of War: What Must Be Done In Order To Win] (Tokyo: Keizaikai K.K., 2002); Miyamoto Kotarō, Asahi biiru seikōsuru kigyō fūdo: Uchigawa kara mita fukkatsu no hosoku [Asahi Breweries’ Successful Corporate Culture: An Inside View of Its Comeback Principles] (Tokyo: Shodensha K.K., 2002); Matsui Yasuo, Takaga biiru saredo biiru: Asahi sūpā dorai 18 nenme no shinbi [It’s Only Beer, but It’s Beer All the Same: Asahi Super Dry’s Eighteenth Beautiful Year] (Tokyo: Nikkan kōgyō shimbun-sha K.K., 2005); and Inokuchi Osami, Kirin no ryūgi: Kane ni tayoru na, jibun ni tayore! [The Kirin Way: Don’t Rely on Money, Rely on Yourself!] (Tokyo: Puresidento-sha K.K., 2007).

(70.) Taketsuru Masataka, Uisukii to watashi [Whisky and I], Tokyo: Nikka Uisukii K.K., 1972.