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Become a Bird to See Over the Breweries
Bird's-Eye-View Screen Paintings of Sake Breweries

Become a Bird to See Over the Breweries Bird's-Eye-View Screen Paintings of Sake Breweries

  • Period: 1931
  • Dimensions:
    Folding screens: Height 172 cm, Width 189 cm
    Illustrations: Height 129.5 cm, Width 157 cm

Hatsusaburo Yoshida (1884-1955), the foremost artist of birds-eye-views of his time, was known as the “Taisho-era Hiroshige” for his landscape skills. He painted this image of the Gekkeikan sake breweries as seen from the air, showing the main Gekkeikan shop and the breweries alongside the Horikawa River, which used to be the outer moat of Fushimi Castle, on a pair of silk two folding screens (the photo shows one enlarged area). Yoshida has shown the landscapes of Fushimi, at the southern end of the Kyoto Basin, including such famous local sights as the Momoyama Goryo, where the Emperor Meiji is entombed, and the Fushimi Inari Shrine.

One of the pair of screens shows the white earthen-walled Uchigura Brewery and the main Gekkeikan shop, while the other screen shows the Showagura Brewery, located on the site of the Fushimi residence of the Kishu Clan, and the Taishogura Brewery, located on the site of the Fushimi residence of the Satsuma Clan (currently Matsuyama Shuzo Co., Ltd., one of our affiliates), and the Kitagura Brewery and, in the grounds, the western-style building of the Okura Sake Brewing Research Institute, located on the site of the Fushimi residence of the Bishu Clan. The Showagura Brewery, constructed in 1927, was the first reinforced concrete brewery with air conditioning built in Japan. Inside the grounds of the Showagura Brewery you can also see the full-scale bottling plant, with its steel-frame dome, that started operation in 1931.

This was gifted to Gekkeikan by Yotaro Watada, the first president of Watada Printing Co., Ltd., the company which prints Gekkeikan's labels.

*The photo is an enlargement of one detail. Photos of the panels are on display at the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum.

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