日本のウイスキーのスコットランドの母 The Scottish mother of Japanese whisky

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BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-30682239

 

アルコールにはあまりくわしくない私ですが、そんな私でもしっている有名なウイスキー

サントリーのウイスキー。

その創始者である竹鶴政孝氏の奥様がこんな風に紹介されていました。

なんとその生みの親である竹鶴さんの奥様はスコットランド人で、

留学中に知り合われたのをご縁に日本に来日して、そのまま移り住んだそうです。

実際に竹鶴さんが創業するまでは、彼女が生活を支えていたようで、

英語やピアノを日本で教えて生活を支えていたことが記事中でかかれていました。

Scotch enthusiasts found it hard to swallow recently when a Japanese single malt was named the world’s best whisky. But the fact that a Scot played a key role in establishing the hard stuff in Japan may make that news more palatable for some.

Jessie Roberta Cowan, from Kirkintilloch, had little idea how much her life was going to change when a young Japanese man took up lodgings at her family home in 1918.

Masataka Taketsuru had come to Scotland to study the art of whisky-making, taking up chemistry at Glasgow University before becoming an apprentice at Longmorn Distillery in Speyside and later at Hazelburn Distillery in Campbeltown.

Masataka and Jessie – who was known as Rita – soon formed a strong bond and on 8 January 1920 they married in a Glasgow registry office.

It was the beginning of a long journey that was to end with Rita becoming known as the mother of Japanese whisky.

Masataka Taketsuru
Masataka Taketsuru came to Scotland to learn the art of whisky-making

Shortly after their marriage, Rita followed her husband back to Japan as he pursued his dream of building his own distillery.

By 1923 he was in Kyoto, working for Kotobukiya – later to become Japanese drinks giant Suntory – tasked with building Japan’s first genuine whisky plant at Yamazaki.

A decade later, he prepared to start up his own distillery at Yoichi, marking the beginnings of what was to become major Japanese drinks business Nikka.

Rita’s role in helping Masataka produce his first whisky in 1940 cannot be underestimated, according to Nikka Whisky international sales manager Emiko Kaji.

“Rita played a very important role in Masataka’s life work,” she said.

“She provided not only moral support but also financial support when they had a difficult time.

“She made every effort to adopt herself to the Japanese culture and stay with him all the time, even during the world war.”

Mr Kaji added: “It is said that she was good at Japanese cooking and served traditional Japanese dishes.

“Her income from teaching English and piano sometimes helped the household.

“Rita’s network through the job also connected Masataka with other investors to establish his own company.

“Masataka could not have overcome a lot of difficulties without loyal support by Rita.”

 

そして、このリタさんとともに北海道で酒造をつくるために移り住み

 

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そこでもまたご苦労されたことが書かれていました。

なんでも、北海道がスコットランド気候に近かったことに注目して、

ここに酒造をつくることをひらめいたようです。

 

さすがですね。

そして、サントリーのもととなる会社を作り、今では日本では

いわずと知れたウイスキーメーカーとなったわけです。

そうか。

日本のウイスキーのもとはスコットランドのウイスキーだったのか

と初めて知ったところです。

この結婚も大反対にあたようで、また生活もリタにとってはとても大変なことが

おおかったようで、いろいろな苦労を乗り越えてようやくここへ行きついた

ことが書かれていました。

_80113507_80113506

なるほどとても興味深い記事でした。

ほかにもかつてイギリスに留学していた文豪なども多いですが、

サントリーウイスキーの創始者もそうだったのかと初めてしりました。

いろいろ面白いですね。

 

 

 

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