The Origin of Japanese Sake

-Let’s take this opportunity to reflect on the history of Japanese sake-

The first sake produced in Japan was fruit liquor
Traces of sake production are seen since the mid-Jomon period (14,000 – 300 B.C.). Unlike Japanese sake however, the ingredients were not rice, but fruits such as wild grapes, etc. In other words, the first sake produced was fruit liquor instead of grain sake.
On the other hand, grain sake production is thought to be introduced from Mainland China approximately 2,600 years ago. A document from the Nara period (710 – 784 A.D.) reads, “kuchimi-zake” (sake produced from chewed rice or grain before fermentation) was produced.
Kuchimi-zake utilizes enzymes in saliva that breaks down starches by chewing on plants like grains and potatoes that contain starches, spit out into a bottle to create sake.
Enzymes in saliva break down starches in plants into sugar. Wild yeast ferments alcohol into sake, not fermented naturally like fruit liquor, but artificially fermented since this time.
Also, this sake production method was used not only in Japan, but also among indigenous populations in the Amazon and Andes plateau.

Sake was consumed to mark occasions that celebrated milestones in human life
The “Gishiwajinden” written around the 3rd century documented sake consumption in Japan from the Jomon period (14,000 – 300 B.C.) to the Nara period (710 – 784 A.D.).
“When someone died, the chief mourner mourned for approximately ten days while others participated in mourning by dancing and drinking sake,” indicating people at the time drank sake during occasions that marked milestones in human life.