51 leaves (including one blank). 8vo (245 x 172 mm.), orig. self-wrappers, orig. stitching. [Japan]: 1856.
A fascinating record book, containing notes from 1838 to 1867 (in spite of the cover date of 1856), concerning the business of making sake and the brewers’ relations with the government.
Sake brewing in Japan has long been a highly regulated industry and an important source of tax revenue. The bakufu instituted the licensing system called “Sakekabu” in 1657 in order to regulate the number of manufacturers and the amount of rice used. The “Sakekabu” itself is a wooden license tag, carrying on the front the name and address of the brewer, along with the amount of sake he could make. On the back of the tag was the official seal of the local finance ministry. “Sakekabu” licenses could be transferred or leased to other brewers within the same province.
Produced in Shimosa province (today’s Chiba Prefecture), this record book chronicles the regional brewers associations’ relations with the provincial tax authorities from 1838 to 1867. We find accounts here of brewers leasing their licenses, names of governmental officials who had oversight of the industry, many names of sake makers, guaranteed quotas of koku and koji, details of the brewing equipment that could be leased (including a wonderful list of the names of the various sizes of barrels), etc.
Fine copy, with some minor worming.
Item ID: 7596