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Sake Becomes New Trendy Drink Among Young Japanese Women

posted on by Eric Stimson
Part of emerging female bar culture

Although drinking parties in Japan are typically associated with rowdy, drunk, middle-aged salarymen staying up late, young women are taking a growing interest in bars and alcohol and visit alcohol-related establishments in growing numbers. And while beer and wine are traditionally favored, women are also showing interest in an even more traditional beverage: sake.

In particular, junmaishu (pure rice wine) and junmai ginjōshu (special brewed pure rice wine), which are high-quality variants, are varied, as are tsumami, side dishes served with alcohol that are an integral part of the Japanese drinking experience. Enthusiasts enjoy pairing a particular sake with different tsumami, like shiokara (salty fermented seafood paste) with dry tanrei karakuchi and cheese with yeasty Kyushu sake. Bel Japon, which sells French cheeses in Japan, even markets cheese varieties to sake lovers in addition to beer and wine drinkers.

Patrons at the Grand Sake Market

According to the National Tax Agency's data, sake shipment and import rose from 583 thousand kiloliters (154 million gallons) in 2012 to 587 thousand kiloliters (155 million gallons) in 2013. At the Grand Sake Market in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, there is about an even gender ratio in its customer base, while it was originally skewed 7:3 in favor of men when it opened in March. Among the younger generation, which has normally looked on sake as an old man's drink, women make up about 70% of the customer base. A rise in women drinking alone is also reported.

In the realm of anime and manga, women enjoying alcohol have also appeared in Wakako-zake and Nomi Joshi. Alcohol-loving young women have also been staples of anime and manga from Fairy Tail to xxxHOLiC.

[Via Sankei Biz]

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