Kasagiya, the forerunner to Gekkeikan, had an imperial appointment to provide sake to the court in the late Edo period, and would make regular deliveries to the Kinri Imperial Palace and the Sento Imperial Palace.
Gekkeikan opened the first research institute built by a sake producer in 1909 , the Okura Sake Brewing Research Institute. The Institute was able to improve the quality of our sake thanks to the use of science and technology in brewing, and Gekkeikan sake won numerous awards at expos and tasting contests. These awards, and our track record at selling sake to the imperial court, led to the conferral of our imperial appointment. Gekkeikan sake was provided for the enthronement ceremonies of both the Emperor Taisho and his son the Emperor Showa: in 1933, the Record of the Enthronement Rites compiled by the Records Office in the Cabinet Secretary's Office noted that Gekkeikan sake was used for the main banquet on the first day and for the feast on the third day. Later, under the imperial appointment system, Gekkeikan would be treated as goyoshu, or sake for imperial use. The appointment system, however, was abolished in 1954.
The photo on the left was taken in 1915 when the sake for the Emperor Taisho's enthronement was leaving from in front of the Okura Residence. The sake itself is in straw-covered sake barrels on three large hand-drawn two-wheeled carts. The man in the top hat in the middle is Tsunekichi Okura (1874-1950), the 11th head of Gekkeikan.
The photo on the right was taken in November 1928, when the sake for the Emperor Showa's enthronement was leaving from in front of the then main shop. A shimenawa, or sacred straw festoon, was hung around the bed of the Ford truck, and a wooden tablet saying Sake for the Enthronement was erected. The man in the middle is Tsunekichi Okura , and the man at the right is Jiichi Okura (1899-1992), the 12th head, who had been appointed as managing director the previous year.