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【Event Report】JAPANESE FES 2022 in TOKYO Part1

2023.01.06 / 最終更新日:2023.02.14

“JAPANESE FES 2022 in TOKYO” was held on December 17th and 18th at Bellesalle Takadanobaba in Tokyo!

Whisky distilleries from all over Japan participated in the event. In addition, there were all kinds of domestic distilled spirits such as shochu, awamori, gin, and spirits other than Whisky. The event was a great success with many fans from all over the world! We really felt Japanese distilled sake industry is exciting!

JAPANESE FES 2022 in TOKYO Event Overview

This event aims to promote Japanese distilled liquor culture by gathering various distilled liquors including Japanese Whisky, shochu and spirits. The organizer, the Whisky Culture Research Institute, has been holding “Whisky Festivals” since 2007, mainly in Tokyo and Osaka. This event has been held for the first time in a while due to Coronavirus disease.

The Japanese Whisky Festival planned for July 2020 was forced to be canceled due to Coronavirus disease. This event was held as a revenge for that, and as the first event where not only Whisky but also Japanese shochu gathered together.


Date and time Saturday, December 17, 2022 10:00-14:00 15:00-19:00
Sunday, December 18, 2022 9:30-13:30 14:30-18:30
Place Bellesalle Takadanobaba
Organizer Whisky Culture Research Institute
Official website https://whiskyfestival.jp/japanese2022/


Report of event

At Bellesalle Takadanobaba, many fans were waiting for the event before the event started at 10:00 am.



After we got a brochure and water at the entrance and entered the other side of the door, the booths of more than 60 distilleries and breweries were already a great success. Also, not only at each booth, but everywhere in the event, the conversations between producers and customers and between producers were very lively.


Special talking show

Various talk shows about Japanese Whisky were held at this event. It consisted of four parts and each of them were 50 minutes, they were very fulfilling story!
In the morning section of the 17th that we interviewed we were able to see the first part of it!


Part 1: Past, Present, and Future of Japanese Whisky 12:00-12:50

The 100th anniversary of the birth of Japanese Whisky is approaching in 2023, Mr. Fukuyo, chief blender at Suntory Spirits Ltd., Mr. Ozaki, chief blender at The Nikka Whisky Distilling Co., Ltd., Mr. Tanaka, master blender at Kirin Brewery Co., Ltd., and Mr. Akuto, the president and CEO of Venture Whisky Co., Ltd., they talked about the spirit of Whisky, the flavor characteristics of Japanese Whisky, and the future outlook!

Before the start time of 12:00, many people had already waited around the stage, and before the start of the performance, called out “Let’s have a toast while practicing”, having a peaceful atmosphere in the event. Also, a live show on YouTube was planning, so fans from all over Japan must had been waiting in front of the screen.


<Part1>Past, Present and Future of Japanese Whisky-Japanese Festival 2022 in Tokyo-YouTube


Mr. Mamoru Tsuchiya Whisky Culture Research Institute Representative / Whisky Galois Editor-in-Chief

In 1987, he went to Scotland for interview and encountered Scotch single malt for the first time and fell in love with Scotch. After returning to Japan, he worked as a Whisky critic. In 1988, he was selected as one of the “World’s Five Whisky Writers”. He supervised Whisky research on NHK soap opera, and has written and supervised over 50 Whisky-related books. In addition, he is as Executive Committee Chairman of the Tokyo Whisky & Spirits Competition (TWSC).

Ms. Yoko Thomsen Acquisition of Whisky Professional (Qualification) / Whisky Test Grade 1She has worked as a personality and narrator on numerous radio programs, including bayfm’s “Nine Sound. She is also qualified as Whisky professional and Whisky test grade 1 and holds events to spread the appeal of Whisky and is active as a cultured person.


Mr. Shinji Fukuyo Suntory Liquors Ltd. / Chief Blender

Joined Suntory Liquors Ltd. in 1984. After working at the Hakushu Distillery and the blender division, he was stationed in Scotland from 1996 to 2002. Appointed Chief Blender in 2009. He has worked on many Suntory whiskies such as “Chita” and “Heki Ao”. Currently serving as Beam Suntory Whisky Quality Advisor and ISC (International Spirits Challenge) judge.

Mr. Jota Tanaka Kirin Brewery Company, Limited / Master Blender

Joined Kirin Brewery Company, Limited in 1988. Worked at a winery in Napa Valley and Four Roses Distillery in the United States, after returning to Japan, he was involved in blender work at the Kirin Brewery Product Development Laboratory. Appointed chief blender in 2010 and current master blender in 2017.

Mr. Hiromi Ozaki The Nikka Whisky Distilling Co., Ltd., / The head of the blender division, chief blender

Joined The Nikka Whisky Distilling Co., Ltd., in 1988. Assigned to a research institute and involved in technology development for alcoholic beverage production. After that, he served as RTD (Ready To Drink), new product development such as shochu at Asahi Beer Liquor Research Institute, quality control manager at the Nikka Tochigi factory and Sendai factory, and raw materials manager at the Nikka headquarters. In 2019, he was appointed Chief Blender, and in 2021 he was appointed as the current Chief Blender.

Mr. Ichiro Akuto  President of Venture Whisky Ltd.

After working for Suntory Liquors Ltd., he founded Venture Whisky Ltd. in Chichibu City in September 2004. He went to Sasanokawa Sake Brewery as a technical instructor, and in the spring of 2005, he commercialized it as “Ichiro’s Malt.” In 2019, in the ISC, he won the “Master Blender of the Year”, which is given to the best blender in the world’s liquor industry of the year.


We will introduce other talk sessions below. Please click the link below to watch the video of the day.

Part 2: From the forefront of Japanese craft gin 17:00-17:50

Like Whisky, gin has become very popular around the world. In particular, the annual export value of Japanese gin is on the verge of reaching 5 billion yen, and the number of distilleries is rapidly increasing to nearly 120. The creators of such a world of gin talked about their unique obsessions and the fun of craft gin!

<Part 2>From the forefront of Japanese craft gin-Japanese Festival 2022 in Tokyo-YouTube


Part 3: The world of shochu and awamori and their unique commitments 11:30-12:20

Shochu and Awamori, which Japan is proud of to the world. The producers of rice, potatoes, barley, brown sugar, and awamori all gathered together and passionately talked about the potential of sake as an accompaniment to a meal and their unique commitments. In addition, they talked about the many charms of shochu and awamori, such as what is needed to expand into the world!

<Part 3> The world of shochu and awamori and their unique commitment-Japanese Festival 2022 in Tokyo-YouTube


Part 4 About dawn of Japanese Crafts and future of JW 16:30-17:20

At the end of the Japanese festival were the people from the unique craft distillery. 4 out of 6 came from different industries unrelated to sake brewing and talked about the future of Japanese Whisky from their unique and free ideas. What is the source of unique ideas and entrepreneurial spirit full of ideas? And there was a hot talk about the tradition and relationship of sake brewing!

<Part 4>About the dawn of Japanese craft and the future of JW (Japanese Whisky)-Japanese Festival 2022 in Tokyo-YouTube


Interview with Mr. Mamoru Tsuchiya, Organizer Representative/Chairman of the Executive Committee

What are his thoughts on this event?

I would like all the participants to make new “discoveries”.

By making it a two-part system like this time, it is possible to interact with each other during a break of about one hour. Not only bringing stories from each distillery, but new discoveries are also born by talking with people from different industries who have never met before.

In addition, by holding a talk show with more than 20 people, any participant can listen to the live voice on the spot and it will be delivered online at the same time. In this talk show, more than 20 creators “know” each other but “have never talked” to each other, leading to new discoveries.

As times change, Japan has many possibilities because it has many distilleries such as Whisky, sake, shochu, and gin. I believe that the intertwining of each other’s knowledge will create new possibilities, and we can become the world’s best producers.


This ends the first event report of JAPANESE FES 2022 in TOKYO!

This event was held as a countermeasure against coronavirus infection, with a capacity of 1000 people each time in two parts per day, and a complete replacement system. Also, unlike the “whisky festival,” only domestically produced whiskies were featured, making it a fascinating and unforgettable day for all who attended. This event, which brought together Western and Japanese liquors and created new discoveries, was a great success.

Next time, we plan to publish the second part of the interview article with the participating distilleries!

Don’t miss it!