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Still Waters

Domestic wine in Japan ended in 17th century

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Still Waters

Researchers from Kumamoto University (Japan) have found an Edo period document that clearly indicates the Hosokawa clan, rulers of the Kokura Domain (modern-day Fukuoka Prefecture), completely stopped producing wine in 1632, the year before the shogunate ordered them to move to the Higo Domain (now Kumamoto Prefecture). The researchers believe that the discontinuation of wine production was directly related to this move and because it was considered to be a drink of a religion that was harshly suppressed in Japan at that time, Christianity.

Previous analysis of historical documents revealed that the lord of the Hosokawa clan, Tadatoshi Hosokawa, ordered wine production from 1627 to 1630 for medicinal use. His vassals, who were experienced in various western customs and technologies—from foods to watches, used black soybeans and wild grapes in their brewing process. Those documents are the earliest known proof of Japanese wine production.


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