• Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 8, 2013

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 7, 2012

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 6, 2011

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 6, 2011

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 6, 2011

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 6, 2011

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 6, 2011

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 6, 2011

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 6, 2011

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 6, 2011

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 6, 2011

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 6, 2011

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 4, 2009

  • Sake Samurai Inauguration Year 3, 2008

Sake Samurai administration team in Japan

Kazuhiro Maegaki

Sake Samurai Chairman

As vice president of Kamoizumi brewery, established back in 1912, Kazuhiro passes down their goal of reviving the traditional Sake making, using only rice and Sake Koji, which began in the 1960s. Kamoizumi has garnered the reputation of a pioneer of Junmai Jozo since 1972 and continues to make good quality Sake with his father Hisao, the third generation of the brewery.

Takenosuke Yasufuku

Sake Samurai Vice-Chairman
Sake Samurai Representative to IWC
‘Fukuju’ Kobe Shu-Shin-Kan Brewery, Hyogo

Takenosuke is one of the most remarkable brewers in the sake industry. Having grown up in a brewery with a history stretching back more than 265 years, due to the experience he acquired living overseas he leads today’s sake industry with fresh and innovative ideas.

Toshie Hiraide

Sake Samurai Co-ordinator
IWC ambassador
Managing director of Co-op SACH

Toshie is the pioneer and the mastermind of sake promotion who introduced IWC to Sake Samurai. She is on the front line of various sake promotion activities in Japan.

Keisuke Irie

Sake Samurai administration and logistics
Managing director of Spazio Idea
Director of Co-op SACH

With an extensive knowledge of travel and distribution, Keisuke manages the administration and logistics for Sake Samurai overseas. Activities include sake distribution for the Japanese government.

Kohei Osumi

Sake Samurai administration office
Japan Sake & Shochu Maker’s Association, Tokyo

As the HQ for Sake Samurai Association, Kohei bases in Tokyo and oversees the operations over IWC and domestic sake activities. Kohei is passionate about supporting Japanese traditional Matsuri events.

Sakurako Tsuchiya

The Managing Director and fifth generation of the Tsuchiya brewery in Tokyo.

Sakurako is one of the few female kuramotos who is actively enlightening Japanese people with the beauty of sake through her sake courses. Sakurako is in charge of Sake Samurai’s official website in Japan.

Sake Samurai team in the UK

Risa-TanakaRisa Tanaka

Risa is in charge of general administration and translation for Sake Samurai UK.

Using her expertise in the previous job as a director in a media company, she also organises events alongside Rie Yoshitake.

She is also an associate of Yoshitake & Associates.

Sake Samurai Association

c/o The Sake Brewers Association Junior Council
1-1-21 West Shinbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo,
105-0003 Japan

Tel +81 (0) 33501 0101
Email info@sakesamurai.jp
Website www.sakesamurai.jp

The Sake Samurai Association

The Sake Samurai Association was established in 2004 as a junior council for the Japan Sake Brewers Association to protect sake and Japanese traditions at home and to promote them internationally. It has contributed to the increased popularity of sake and Japanese food overseas in recent years.

In ancient times, Japan was known as “the land of abundant reed plains and fresh ears of rice.” Water and rice are at the very heart of Japanese culture. Nurtured over a long history in a beautiful land, Japanese sake, made from these simple ingredients, merges timeless wisdom with sophisticated craft.

In the modern era however, social changes pushed sake, together with other traditional cuisine and customs, toward the periphery of Japanese lifestyle. Sake brewers fear that the pride of the Japanese people is being lost from Japan.

Meanwhile, Japanese food and sake have made remarkable inroads overseas, growing in estimation with each passing year. Japanese food and sake convey the beauty of Japanese culture to the world with the wisdom and knowledge of the Japanese people, and the world in turn has appreciated Japan’s culture.


Since 2006 Sake Samurai has awarded annual ‘Samurai’ titles to individuals for their outstanding contribution to the understanding, appreciation or promotion of sake. The recipients of these titles commit to the upholding of three tenets:

  • Love both sake and the beautiful culture of Japan.
  • Strive to gain a deeper understanding of sake culture and work on behalf of its further development.
  • Spread the word about Japanese sake around the world with pride and passion.

Sake Samurai has also enhanced the international reputation of sake through its association with the International Wine Challenge in London, introducing sake as a category alongside fine wines since 2007.

Sake Samurai Award Recipients

Year Name Location
2016 Shinya Tazaki Japan
Toshio Ueno USA
Yonsuku Lee Korea
Elliot James Faber Japan
Marco Massarotto Italy
2015 Tatsuya Iida Alexander Brazil
Shigeo Oguri Japan
Natsuki Kikuya UK
Eiji Sugihara Japan
Sachiyo Suzuki Thailand
Junichi Murata Japan
Marcus Pakiser US
2014 Shinya Shirasu Japan
Kazue Murayama Japan
Antony Moss MW UK
Markus Del Monego Germany
Richie Hawtin UK
Yulin Ly France
2013 Mr Daisaku Kagokawa Japan
Mr Yoshikazu Hashimura Japan
Mr Hisao Nakahigashi Japan
Ms Etsuko Nakamura Japan
Mr Soji Hiraide Taiwan
Mr Andre Bishop Australia
Mr Chris Johnson USA
Mr John Frank USA
2012 Mr Gitan Otsuru Japan
Mr Takuro Tatsumi Japan
Mr Ayuchi Momose Hong Kong
Ms Chizuko Niikawa- Helton United States
Mr Sylvain Huet France
2011 Kunio Tokuoka Japan
Ms Yuki Aoi Japan
Ms Satomi Ogawa Japan
Mr Andrew Reed United Kingdom
Mr Ake Nordgren Sweden
Ms Yoshiko Ueno Muller Germany
2010 Ms Saori kawano United States
Ms Mariko Kiyonaga Japan
Mr Mamoru Sugiyama Japan
Mr Keisuke Matsuyama Japan
Mr Yuji Matsumoto United States
Mr Ho Leung Chi Hong Kong
2009 Mr Koji Tanikawa Japan
Mr Yoshihiro Murata Japan
Mr Byoung-Suk Yang Korea
Mr Simon Hofstra Holland
Mr Michael J. Leineweber AIA United States
2008 Mr Yoshihiko Oda Japan
Mr Kenjiro Monji Japan
Mr Tomohiko Shigeyama Japan
Mr Takashi Tamura Japan
Mr Roger Jean Dagorn United States
Mr Jan van Lissum Holland
2007 Ms Rie Seno Japan
Mr Eiichi takahashi Japan
Mr Tetsuya Wakuda Australia
Mr David Wrigley MW United Kingdom
Mr Timothy Sullivan United States
2006 Mr Takeshi Ueshiba Japan
Mr Kenichiro Otake Japan
Ms Tokiko Tato Japan
Mr John Gauntner Japan
Mr Sam Harrop MW United Kingdom
Mr Beau Timken United States