Nekka Rice Shochu: A Fukushima Spirit
Aired: Mar. 26, 2020
Nekka Shochu is a distilled spirit manufactured in the town of Tadami, Fukushima Prefecture. It’s won many international liquor competitions and established its brand status in only three years. Developed and produced alongside local rice farmers, their goal is to bring the community together in promoting the potential of rice to the world.
What amazed me the most was the active participation of the local community in the development of Nekka Shochu. The local people get to sample and decide the flavor. Many youngsters took part in growing and reaping Sakamai rice. I am attracted to the vibrant energy in Tadami Town. The production of Nekka Shochu provides job opportunities for the locals especially the future generation of the town. Unquestionably, it is a creative and sustainable economic recovery for the region.
What really stands out and makes this one of my favorite segments is the “feel” of it. The segment has a ton of “personality.” I love the story behind the sake brewer and the rice farmers who now brew their own unique liquor. I absolutely love the analogy comparing the team members to different parts of a car, such as the steering wheel, accelerator, brake, etc. I have never seen such a comparison before. It makes a lot of sense and serves as a way to visualize and conceptualize the different and important roles of team members. This is something I will never forget.
From the US
I had not heard of Nekka before, so I was interested to hear about how it was developed and its award- winning status. Although I’m not a big fan of Shochu, I was intrigued to see how it was produced and how the brand was cultivated by people with no prior experience of distilling. I liked the car metaphor to describe different personalities of the group and they seemed like a very likeable group of entrepreneurs. I wasn’t aware of the importance of rice polishing in producing Shochu, so this feature was also educational. Overall, it was inspiring to hear their story and how they’ve become the pride of their town in Fukushima.