A collection of eleven manuscript notebooks kept by the Ikegami Sake Brewery in what is today Minami fukashi, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture. NAGANO PREFECTURE IKEGAMI SAKE MANUFACTURER.
A collection of eleven manuscript notebooks kept by the Ikegami Sake Brewery in what is today Minami fukashi, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.

The Sake Business

A collection of eleven manuscript notebooks kept by the Ikegami Sake Brewery in what is today Minami fukashi, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.

400-500 leaves. Two sheets & eleven notebooks in various formats from small 8vo to large 8vo, orig. wrappers, orig. stitching. [Nagano Prefecture: 1880-95].

The excellent rice and pure mountain waters of Nagano Prefecture have always contributed to the making of fine sake. Today, Nagano boasts the second-most sake breweries of any prefecture in the country.

The wealthy and powerful Ikegami family has had a long history in Nagano and was goyotatsu shonin (official purveyor) to the local Takato Fiefdom. In the 16th century, the Ikegami family entered into the businesses of manufacturing porcelain, soy sauce, vinegar, and sake, and its enterprises flourished for many centuries. Sake brewing in Japan has long been a highly regulated industry and an important source of tax revenue. We see much in these manuscripts concerning reports to the government regarding production, equipment, revenue, inventory, etc.

These manuscripts can be divided into groups:

1. two printed sheets with manuscript additions of sake sales reports for August 1886, sent to the government for taxation purposes. There are three categories of sake: newly brewed, fully matured, and a blend of the two.

2. two small manuscript octavo booklets for the years 1883 and 1890. These are instructional sales manuals for employees of the sake and shochu division, with 30 or so rules for salesmen, samples of form letters addressed to customers and the government, and lists of newly acquired equipment (required by the government). We learn that Ikegami was also brewing Western beer. There are several passages regarding the application of kansatsu (licenses), with illustrations of the floor plans of the brewing facilities, and an inventory of the tools and brewing and distillation equipment.

3. one manuscript octavo booklet, with a cord on top for hanging on the wall. This is a roster of employees, their positions, length of employment, and salaries.

4. three large octavo manuscript notebooks dated 1887-95. These are copies of correspondence and application forms sent to the government. They offer a vivid window into the business activities of the Ikegami brewing company, with details of quantities or raw materials acquired, production levels, the many government inspections of the brewery, lists of recently acquired real estate, etc.

5. four larger octavo pre-printed notebooks, dated 1881-85, with manuscript annotations. These detail other assets of the brewing company, including number of barrels, number of boards (248) on which the koji would mature, distillation equipment, tubs, number of storage buildings and their purposes, records of the fermentations, etc. All these details were required by the government.

6. one small octavo pre-printed notebook, dated 1880, containing Tomisaburo Ikegami’s notes on changes in taxation and regulations.

In fine condition. The fifth group has some relatively minor worming.

Price: $6,500.00

Item ID: 7633