(THISIS)SHIZEN® ディスイズシゼン

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猪本 順子

President of Inomoto Saketen Ltd. / Owner of Inomoto Sake Shop

有限会社猪本酒店 代表取締役 / いのもと酒店店主

The "bridge-builder" in the cycle of nature



Rice plays an important role among the elements that constitutes (THISIS)SHIZEN. Sake, known as a result of the accumulated wisdom and skills of the Japanese people, is becoming more and more interesting today. Ms. Junko Inomoto, an owner of Inomoto Sake Shop in Kumamoto, took a role as a sake director at (THISISIS)SHIZEN to prepare a variety of sake that embodies the concept of the shop. It's not just about new and delicious taste, but also she sees nature through sake, and what the future holds beyond it.

I believe that nature is a mirror of human beings. It's a very great being, but it's right next to our daily lives. Natural disasters and various environmental issue that we are currently facing around the world are a message from the earth that we must face nature, I think. If the environment could become richer, then rivers, oceans and mountains might have remain calm. I want to rethink nature and the environment through sake, and coexist in harmony as much as I can.

— Rice, water, soil and fermentation ... Indeed, it is impossible to talk about sake without the presence of nature. What Ms. Inomoto sees the attractiveness in sake?


Sake born of nature and the Japanese spirit

It's a bit rough, but fruits such as grapes can be left alone to ferment because they are sugars in themselves. But in order to ferment rice into alcohol, starch must be converted into sugar, and koji (malted rice) is also needed for the yeast to do so…… I believe that Sake was born not only because of those natural phenomena, but also with a result of the diligence and serious personalities of our pioneers, which can be often found in Japanese people. This is what makes Sake appealing.

— Ms. Inomoto’s thoughts and her vision for the selection process.


The role of 'Sake Director' for (THISISIS)SHIZEN

When I heard about the concept from (THISISIS)SHIZEN's director, Taichi Saito, I felt that this is a project I can be very excited about. Sake still has a stigma among young women in Japan that it is old men's drink. I think this is such a shame that even if it is such a good product and fascinating, the way it is presented and the way it spreads hasn't caught up to its fascination. That's why I am hoping that Mr. Saito's ideas and approach to (THISIS)SHIZEN will bring a new perspective to the sake industry.

For the opening, we provided four types of sake. 'Aramasa' from Aramasa Brewery in Akita, 'u yoshidagura' from Yoshida Brewery in Akita, 'Ubuyamamura' from Chiyonosono Brewery in Kumamoto, and (THISIS)SHIZEN original Sake from Matsumoto Brewery in Kyoto.
When this project has started, we first visited Yusuke Sato, the 8th generation of Shinsei Shuzo, who has been working on this project for 10 years. Over the past 10 years, he has switched to the traditional method of making sake without adding additives and harnessing the power of nature, called "Kimoto method”. I thought his ideas and approach to sake brewing would be a good fit for (THISIS)SHIZEN. Then, I invited Yoshida Brewery, where use a modern take on the classic Yamahai brewing method, and also invited a brewery from my hometown, Ubuyama in Kumamoto, where makes sake from rice produced by a carp farming method that releases carp without using pesticides to eat pests. After that, I approached Matsumoto Brewery in Kyoto for advice to make an original sake of (THISIS)SHIZEN. When I discussed this matter with the owner Hidehiko Matsumoto, he immediately said, "Let's go to the rice paddies" and he took us to the Special A area among the rice paddies in Hyogo Prefecture that produce Yamada Nishiki (a speciality rice for sake-making). They started growing their own rice by themselves last year, and they gave us one area of their rice paddies for (THIS)SHIZEN, we were able to make it happen to make an original sake.
We, as liquor stores, cannot make sake by ourselves. That's why it is always important how we select breweries and build relationships with them to communicate in our own way. Therefore, our selections for (THISIS)SHIZEN were made with an understanding of the store's concept of "nature" in our own perspective.

Photography by Ko Tsuchiya

— Ms. Inomoto, who is currently the second generation owner, has been involved in her family business for 10 years. What has changed and what has not changed for herself and her environment?


People and nature, the way they should be

The brewery and the brewers put their hearts into making sake. Nowadays, they are starting their own rice cultivation, and use their own rice to make sake. I think that's the way a sake brewery should be, working closer to the cycles of nature. Ten years ago, I realized that I couldn't let my father's liquor store shut down, then I came back to Kumamoto from Tokyo to work in the sake business. I feel that I've been given the opportunity to be involved in (THISIS)SHIZEN project at a very good point of my career. We, as liquor stores, play a role as a "bridge" between breweries and consumers by taking care of their sake and delivering it to them. We also include a message about what kind of people, what kind of environment, and what kind of thoughts exist into making the sake when we deliver it. I've been building relationships with people by visiting breweries, drinking vessels and knobs factory as much as possible by myself. I think this is something that has been going on since my father's generation, and it is the natural way for people to be.


Junko Inomoto
At the age of 30, she moved to Tokyo, where she was as good as a runaway. She worked as a press officer and product manager at TRAIN CORPORATION, which was responsible for creating various PR mechanisms and developing new products based on the concepts of "producing impressions" and “Innovation new standards to ordinary products.. After serving in this capacity, she returned home in December 2009 to take over the family business in Kumamoto, and was appointed President in April 2014. The company sells products that specialize in Japanese sake, shochu, Japanese wine and Japanese liqueurs. She is involved in activities such as collaborative events with star chefs to further promote Japanese sake and other Japanese alcoholic beverages.



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