This is a photograph of Tsunekichi Okura (1874-1950), the 11th head, taken in 1912 when he was 38 years old. The photo was taken at the Okura Sake Brewing Research Institute in the grounds of Gekkeikan's Kitagura (Fushimi-ku, Kyoto), and the decorative shelving seen behind him to the left was called a three-cornered shelf due to its triangular shape as seen from above, and used in the corner of a room. There are glass double doors on the front, and the frieze board on top displays the Japanese flag in the center, with the Kasagiya mark, which had been used since we were first founded, on either side. These decorative shelves are now on display in the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum.
Tsunekichi suffered a great deal as a child. He succeeded to the head of the Okura family at just thirteen, after losing his brother and his father in quick succession. Thanks to the discipline instilled in him by his mother, he was able to gain front-line experience. Eating and sleeping with the kurabito (skilled workers) and clerks while still young, he brewed sake, purchased rice, and sold sake; working unstintingly for the company. From these experiences, he grew aware of a number of issues, which he was able to draw on later in life when he reformed our way of doing business.
Under Tsunekichi's stewardship, we first adopted our trademark Gekkeikan, the laurel wreath symbolizing victory and glory, which was registered as a trademark in 1905. He also founded the Research Institute in 1909, succeeded in developing Japan's first preservative-free sake, which was sold starting in 1911, and worked on numerous other initiatives, adding new perspectives to our management, and was the driving force behind spreading Fushimi sake nationwide. During Tsunekichi's life, Gekkeikan went from producing 90,000 liters of sake annually to 9,000,000 liters, increasing output a hundred-fold. Tsunekichi was truly the man who led the resurgence of Gekkeikan.