Pop Culture and Japan

Fire Water Of The Kamuni: Burash

Japanese spirits like shochu aren’t that well-known in Western countries. But when you develop a taste for shochu, it’s easy to disappear down the rabbit hole and drinking the spirit has inspired the creation of a spirit for my horror world of The Frontier.

No matter where you come from on The Frontier, alcohol is the great equaliser, playing a vital role in religionpolitics and everyday life. The same goes for the kamuni, who use alcohol as a way to be closer to their beliefs, celebrate and mark important milestones.

A popular drink within kamuni culture is burash, a type of spirit that can be made from several ingredients and has a huge range of flavour profiles.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Unlocking The Mysteries Of Tinek And The Secret Brewing Techniques Of The Kamuni

The drinking traditions of different cultures is fascinating and Japanese sake is one of the most unique beverages on the planet. I enjoy drinking it so much that it inspired the creation of a fantastical drink that fits into the world of The Frontier, a horror western universe inhabited by monsters and gunslingers.

Tinek is the spirtual drink of the kamuni and you can learn more about it here.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Cultural Displacement And Complex Identities: An Overview Of The Kamuni

Japanese culture has had a big impact on me. Hell, it inspired the creation of Yamato Magazine and it’s been influential in crafting a world in which I’ve been able to publish my debut novella AT THE DEAD OF DUSK. Set within a dark western world called The Frontier, the novella follows an infamous witch hunter transporting a young woman across dangerous terrain.

When creating The Frontier, I dipped into my love of Japanese culture and created a group of people called kamuni. Much of the kamuni’s history has been inspired by the Ainu, the indigenous people of Japan who have their origins in Hokkaido. Read on to discover more about the kamuni.

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Pop Culture and Japan

A Tale Of Two Artists: Studying The Artistry Of Hokusai And Hiroshige

Ukiyo-e, aka Japanese woodblock prints, are among the most recognisable artforms in the world and there are several masters of the medium to be aware of. Perhaps none are more celebrated than Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige, two men who redefined the genre with their breathtaking landscapes and vivid realism of nature.

Hokusai and Hiroshige are both responsible for shifting ukiyo-e from a style of personal portraits of courtesans and actors to the broader lens of landscapes and animals. 

While both artists covered similar motifs, their styles were wholly unique. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the artistry of Hokusai and Hiroshige to see what set them apart.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Exploring The Current State Of The Sake Industry In 2021 And Beyond

Domestically and internationally, sake has experienced a rise and fall across a period of several decades. Trends have come and gone, attitudes have shifted and a pandemic has caused a huge impact on how sake is sold, consumed and shared all over the world.

The Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association (JSS) recently hosted an event that showed the current state of the sake industry and how it could evolve over the coming years.

Iin this article, we’ll look at the key takeaways from the event.

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Pop Culture and Japan

Sake And Stoicism: Exploring The Four Stoic Principles Through Nihonshu

Sake and stoicism.

Practicing philosophy invites the opportunity to bring it into aspects of life that you may not have thought about initially. In my case, I’ve become interested in the philosophy of Stoicism and over the course of learning, it’s made me curious to see how it could be introduced into other topics I find intriguing.

It’s for that reason I’m exploring Stoicism through the lens of sake brewing and how the four Stoic principles of courage, wisdom, temperance and justice is embodied in the sake industry. 

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Japanese Cuisine · Pop Culture and Japan

Why London Sake Is One Of The Best Places In The UK To Get Your Sake Fix

London Sake.

In the UK, sake is experiencing something of a revolution through the likes of places like Moto and Kanpai Brewery in the South of England and The Sparrows in the North. Distributors are also leading the charge for getting nihonshu into the hands of the masses, with London Sake being at the forefront of the conversation.

With an ever-growing and diverse portfolio of sake and shochu to choose from, London Sake is a brand that should be on the list of sake fans across the UK and beyond. 

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Pop Culture and Japan

Understanding The World Of The Geisha And Their Place In Japanese Culture

A geisha walking in Kyoto.

In Japanese culture, few images are more enduring than the geisha. A romantic symbol of classical Japan, geisha are traditionally shown as enigmatic, elegant, powerful, sexual and even lonely figures who have become a shadow of their former selves in the modern day. 

Literature and popular culture has over romanticised geisha, though it’s also made it harder to determine what is fact and what is fiction. So, who are the geisha truly? What makes them stand apart in Japanese culture? What were their duties and how did they function in daily society?

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Pop Culture and Japan

Championing Small Scale Nihonshu Breweries With Sake Lovers

Sake Lovers.

Japanese sake is more than just a drink. It’s a story, a tradition, a culture, a lifestyle choice and a passion. From the people who brew nihonshu to the distributors and importers who sell it, there’s a real love for promoting something that’s been on a decline throughout Japan. 

There’s roughly about 1600 sake breweries in Japan, yet that number used to be much higher and preserving this tradition has become paramount for many small-scale breweries. 

Yuki Imanishi and Kyoko Nagano are on a mission to keep the livelihood of small sake breweries alive with Sake Lovers. Built on a love of craft production and heritage, Sake Lovers has a great story to tell.

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Pop Culture and Japan

A Nihonshu Pop Culture Lexicon From A Sake Nerd

 

Drinking sake is a sure-fire way of feeling better connected to Japanese culture. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or first-time drinker, every sip is another step towards understanding the heritage and traditions that make Japan so multi-faceted.

When entering the world of sake, there’s loads of terms thrown around that might seem intimidating and I think it’s interesting how people find their own way of relating to different topics. 

From my perspective, I find popular culture helps. With that said, here’s a pop culture lexicon from a sake nerd that’s filled with random comic, wrestling and musical references. 

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