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The Birth of Saké

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The Birth of Saké

I was looking for a Japanese movie that could show my students family values and traditions and came across "The Birth of Saké" by Erik Shirai. Even though it doesn't focus solely on family, it's a great film that explores the lives of passionate sake-makers and their relationships with their families and colleagues. The movie takes place at Yoshida Brewery, a 144-year-old family-owned small brewery in northern Japan that strives to position their products in the global market due to its decline in popularity within Japan. The introduction of cheaper beverages such as wine and beer and the fact that younger generations are not very fond of sake, has made it harder for traditional breweries to stay on business.
The film shows the traditional ways of sake making with old machinery and their hands as the key tool for the successful production of this millenary Japanese beverage. Sake’s production takes about six months and during this time all workers live together in the brewery far away from their loved ones who support them and wait anxiously for their return in the spring.
The film last about one hour and thirty minutes, you can show clips depending on the topics you want to cover. There is only one part you cannot show in class; towards the middle of the movie younger workers talk about pornography for about a minute, and there is scene where older workers are naked taking a bath together. This last one is not vulgar at all, but you might just want to avoid it.