- Alcohol / Amabie / Beverages / coronavirus / Sake
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When COVID-19 first latched onto the world, nobody could have guessed how Japan would soon become overrun with the anti-plague yokai, Amabie. The fishlike, disease fighting monster supposedly first appeared during the edo period, rising from the waters of Kumamoto prefecture, where it made predictions of a good and long harvest, before prophesying it’s future reappearance in a time of need, should ever one arise. Before disappearing into the deep, Amabie is quoted as having said, “if an epidemic ever spreads, draw a picture of me and show it to everyone.”
With COVID-19 knocking on Japan’s door, the monster quickly began to make its reappearance, first appearing in drawings shared on twitter and instagram, however, it wasn’t too long before Amabie was found adorning a range of items, much like a modern superhero. You can now get your hands on Amabie beer, donuts, wagashi (Japanese sweets) and pudding, and if you’re really feeling the need to connect with the monster, you can even summon your own inner amabie with this Amabie camera effect.
Adding to the list of Amabie merchandise, Katsuyama Sake Brewery and Futahashira Shrine, of Miyagi prefecture have created their very own “Amabie Amahiko” sake. The sake will be available for a limited time, until the end of the epidemic in Japan. Amabie Amahiko sake is described as a well balanced liquor, perfect for highlighting appetisers, light dishes and fish dishes such as sashimi. A mouth watering drink, the new sake boasts the stereotypical flavours of Katsuyama and the local produced rice, which is used for preparing the liquor.
Available in a 720ml bottle complete with a label depicting the Amabie yokai, the drink can be purchased online at both the official Katsuyama Brewery store and on the Rakuten Market for the price of 1,500 yen (excluding tax).
The brewery behind the new sake, Katsuyama Brewery has been representing Miyagi prefecture for more than 320 years, having been founded in the castle town of Sendai by the ancient Date family. Today, the owners and workers are considered as the last remaining members of the Date family. To make the high quality sake the brewery is known for, workers follow a long and meticulous method, which in turn leads to the factory only producing one tank of sake each week.
The brewery has won numerous awards and became proud category winners in 2019, when their sake, “432 Katsuyama Junmai Ginjo-Ken” was named the champion sake at the International Wine Challenge.
Futahashira Jinja, also known as the two-pillar shrine, has worked alongside Katsuyama Brewery to produce the Amabie Amahiko sake, blessing the drink and helping to create the labels which depict the Amabie yokai.
Futahashira Jinja gets its name, “the two pillar shrine”, because of the two gods which are enshrined on it’s grounds; Izanagi-no-Mikoto and Izanami-no-Mikoto.
The shrine has a reputation for fighting against sickness and has been a place where people go to pray for luck, family safety, childbirth safety and the good growth and health of children for centuries. Keeping up with shrine traditions, Futahashira Jinja has been praying for the recovery of Japan since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
To help fight off COVID-19, get your hands on a bottle of Amabie Amahiko Sake and ward away the sickness with the infamous Amabie Yokai!