Highlighting Women's Achievements & Contributions to the Craft of Sake  






To highlight women working with Sake and their achievements & contributions, especially focusing on small-scale brewers, and women who may not be well known, but doing amazing work in Sake.  

Often times, women's contributions are less recognized in many industries, including in the Sake industry. (Women were actually 'banned' from Sake brewing for centuries until relatively recently, even though they were the first brewers). 

Now, things are different. In my Sake journey, I've been lucky to meet some fantastic people working in various capacities contributing to the craft. Not to exclude men, but to acknowledge these inspiring women's contributions which may not be known enough. With the hope of renewed gender awareness in Sake, inspiration, and ultimately the spread of more Sake Love!


日本酒界で頑張ってる女性達をハイライト。 特に小規模&ブテイークな蔵や海外であまり知られてない様々なキャパシテイで頑張ってる女性達にフォーカス。彼女達の存在と歩んで来た道を知る事により、海外&日本の女性達(+男性)にもインスピレーション&励みに。同時に日本酒への好奇心・興味を促して、日本酒全般のファンが増える願いも込めて。国連でジェンダーに携わっていた日本酒学講師の小さな新しいプロジェクト。

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File #1: Fumiko Shintani, Toji - Master Brewer, Shintani Brewery, Yamaguchi 


File #2: Midori Okazaki, Toji - Master Brewer, Okazaki Brewery, Nagano 


File #3: Simone Maynard "Sake Mistress" (Sake Promotion & Education), Australia 


File #4: Maiko Tsuji, Toji - Master Brewer, Gozenshu (Tsuji Honten) Brewery, Okayama

辻麻衣子氏・辻本店・御前酒 蔵元 杜氏 (岡山県)

File #5 : Kuniko Fujita, “Madame Saké au Québec”


File #6: Rumiko Moriki, Managing Director & Former Toji (Master Brewer),

Moriki Brewery, Mie 

森喜るみ子氏・森喜酒造 専務(元・杜氏) (三重県)

File #7 : Sachiko Miyagi, Sake Expert, Tippsy Sake (USA)


File #8: Yuri Shiraso, President-Designate, Shiraso Brewery, Tochigi

白相友梨氏・白相酒造 (栃木県) 


File #9: Kuniko Mukai, Toji: Master Brewer, Mukai Brewery (Kyoto)



File #10: Pao Jumin, Sake Educator, Taiwan 日本酒学講師・包睿敏氏 (台湾)

File #11: Erika Haigh, Director & Co-Owner, Moto London (UK) London's first independent Sake bar


イギリス初の日本酒バー MOTO ディレクター兼共同オーナー

File #12: Monica Samuels, Sake Samurai

Director of Sake & Spirits, Vine Connections (USA)



ヴァイン・コネクション 日本酒 & スピリッツ・デイレクター(米国)

File #13: Rumiko Obata 
Executive Vice President/5th Generation Owner, Obata Brewery, Niigata


File #14: Chizuko Niikawa-Helton

Sake Samurai

CEO, Sake Discoveries LLC & Okanban of Sake Caliente


サケ・デイスカバリーズLLC 社長・サケカリエンテ お燗番(米国)

File #15: 

Mariko Léveillé, Deputy Toji (Deputy Master Brewer), Wakaze Brewery, France



File #16: Miho Fujita

President, Mioya Brewery



All Interviews on Instagram too!

Go to Instagram @Sarika.Sake here

Why: Concept Background


Before I became a Sake Lover, I worked with the United Nations on Urban Policy, Gender Equality & Women's Rights, posted in Asia (Vietnam, Thailand) & Africa (Kenya) for nearly a decade. The women I met were inspiring, full of struggles, joys, and wisdom, despite socio-economic barriers. As I embarked on my Sake journey, I was excited to similarly meet a growing minority of great women doing creative work in various capacities in the Sake world.

In my Sake Workshops when I share these women's achievements, participants are thrilled and want to know more. It is obviously unrealistic to expect everyone to come to my workshops. So, this is an experiment to share my Sake & Gender passion digitally in a free and open format. Money-wise: There is no money involved in either direction between myself and these great women. Personally, it is such a fun privilege to get to have a in-depth conversation with these inspiring people.


コンセプト 背景







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Currently, this is a skeleton list, but I'll keep adding more and more to the listing and eventually categorize them better, so it will be easier for people to support these women-led businesses. Click on the name and it will take you to their respective websites. 

PS: Loosely defining for this list, women-owned, women-led, as an institution that is ensuring gender equality/women in a leading role/decision-making role, not in a token or symbolic role.

(Meanwhile special thanks to many who took their time to send me suggestions! Including Melissa Mills, Sachiko Miyagi, Sawako Ruark, and more)




Women-Led Sake Breweries

(Female Toji/Master Brewer | President | Board Member)


Shintani Brewery, Yamaguchi (Woman Toji: Fumiko Shintani)

Okazaki Brewery, Nagano (Woman Toji: Midori Okazaki)

Shusen Kurano Brewery, Nagano (Woman Toji: Mariko Chino)

Ozawa Brewery, Nagano (Woman Toji: Miyuki Ozawa)

Takasawa Brewery, Nagano (Woman Toji: Kayoko Takasawa)

Tsukiyoshino Brewery, Nagano (Woman Toji: Mami Wakabayashi)

Otsuka Brewery, Nagano (Woman Toji: Kiyomi Otsuka)

Kouten Brewery, Nagano (Woman Toji: Mie Oguchi)

Gozenshu | Tsujihonten Brewery, Okayama (Woman Toji: Maiko Tsuji)

Mukai Brewery, Kyoto (Woman Toji: Kuniko Mukai)

Moriki Brewery, Mie (Woman Managing Director: Moriki Rumiko & Female Toji: Rie Toyomoto)

Mioya Brewery, Ishikawa (Woman President: Miho Fujita)

Shiraso Brewery, Tochigi (Woman President-Designate: Yuri Shiraso)

Fukucho | Imada Brewery, Hiroshima (Woman President & Female Toji: Miho Imada)

Shibata Brewery, Aichi (Woman Toji: Shizuka Ito)

Hirota Brewery, Iwate (Women Toji: Yumi Ono)

Hasegawa Brewery, Niigata (Women Toji: Yuko Hasegawa)

Sato Brewery, Saitama (Women Toji: Mariko Sato)

Kinginka Brewery, Aichi (Women Toji: Atsuko Sato & Women President: Hiroko Sato)

Sonnoh | Yamazaki Brewery, Aichi (Women President: Yamazaki)

Sawada Brewery, Aichi (Women President: Kaoru Sawada)

Tabata Brewery, Wakayama (Women Toji: Satoko Hasegawa)

Yachio Brewery, Yamaguchi (Woman Toji: Kumiko Ura) 

Asahi Brewery, Shimane (Woman Toji: Eriko Terada)

Ichinomiya Brewery, Shimane (Woman Toji: Rika Asano)

Nandaku Brewery, Hyogo (Woman Toji: Misa Kawaishi) 

Hirai Brewery, Shiga (Woman Toji & President: Hiroko Hirai)

Watanabe Brewery, Gifu (Woman Toji: Asako Watanabe) 

Yoshida Brewery, Fukui (Woman Toji: Mako Yoshida & Woman President: Yukari Yoshida)

Inaba Brewery, Ibaragi (Woman Toji & Woman President: Nobuko Inaba)

Choshu Brewery, Yamaguchi (Woman Toji: Miki Fujioka) 

Haginishiki Brewery, Shizuoka (Woman Toji)

Obata Brewery, Niigata (Woman President: Rumiko Obata)

Keigetsu Brewery, Kochi

Miwa Brewery, Gifu

Nagai Brewery, Gunma (Woman Board Member: Matsumi Nagai)


Shochu Distilleries

Furusawa Distillery, Miyazaki (Woman Toji & President: Masako Furusawa)


Sake Breweries outside Japan


Sequoia Sake, San Francisco, California

Nova Brewing Co., California (Woman Owned)

Islander Sake Brewery, Hawaii (Women President & Toji)


YK3 Sake (Women President)


Wakaze, Paris, France (Women Deputy Toji)

Women Sake Educators/Importers/Sake Establishment Owners

*Some wonderful Sake Educators wear many hats, also as importers/distributors/ and Sake establishment owners. *Some overlapping on this list. 


Importers/Distributers/PR Agencies/Sake Retailers: 

Tippsy Sake

Vine Connections

Sake Discoveries

Umami Mart

Floating World Imports

Sake Suki

Sake Shop: Hawaii's first retail Sake store


Chizuko Niikawa-Helton

Sachiko Miyagi

Monica Samuels

Marina Giordano

Nico Fujita / Madame Sake au Quebec


Sake Connect

Sake Mistress


Moto London Sake Bar, London

Erika Haigh

Sarika Group

Asia (Excluding Japan)

Remin Pao, Taiwan

Vinnie Hsu, Taiwan



Women Educators

Chikako Ohkoshi, Sake Salon, Tokyo

Ryoko Irie, Tokyo 

Toshiko Kitagawa

Norie Asano

Yu Okamoto

Yayoi Hirose

Women-Led Sake Business in Japan

Sake Lovers (Woman-Owned: Yuki Imanishi & Kyoko Nagano)) Sake Tours, Exports

Micura Sake Making Kit

Etsuko Nakamura, Sake Tours

Onnna Kikizake Gundan, Community of Woman Kikizakeshi

Gem by Moto, Legendary Sake Bar by Marie Chiba


is an UN official turned Sake Advocate and Yogi.

SSI Sake Educator | Master Sake Sommelier | Shochu Sommelier


Sarika is the founder of Sarika Group, a niche education consultancy focusing on Sake Education and Face Yoga.

Before she became a Sake Yogi, Sarika worked with the United Nations in Asia & Africa on women's empowerment and sustainable urban policy for a decade, after her Master of Science the London School of Economics.  Keeping the same focus on gender and sustainability, Sarika now shares her love for Sake, with special attention to small-scale, sustainable breweries and women brewers.

日本酒愛が高じて、国連職員から日本酒学講師に転身。それ以前は国連競争試験を経て、国連で十年近くアフリカ・アジア赴任。ケニア、ベトナム、タイ等で貧困撲滅、女性の地位向上、社会的弱者のエンパワーメント等に従事。国際結婚、2児の母。4大陸(アフリカ・アジア・ヨーロッパ・アメリカ)、11カ国に住む。60カ国以上、世界を出張・旅行。英国ロンドン⼤学⼤学院・政治経済学院 (London School of Economics) 理学修士。上智⼤学卒業。今年から中欧ワルシャワ駐在。公認 日本酒学講師 ・国際唎酒師・焼酎唎酒師 

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