Contemporary artist Takashi Murakami is one of Japan’s most commercially successful artists. He’s also the proprietor of his own gallery and bar, where’s he’s free to exercise some of his other interests. The artist is now merging two art forms, sake distillery and his own contemporary art, to create a unique line of Japanese sake that will be sold at his bar, as well as other stores throughout Japan.
Murakami and his Kaikai Kiki empire are teaming up with NEXT5, an Akita prefecture-based collective of sake brewers who are all descendants of historical sake-brewing families. In Murakami’s words, they’re the most innovative sake brewers in all of Japan.
Using ancient methods of sake brewing that date back to the early Edo period, the team has created a junmai daiginjo sake that will be bottled in Murakami’s classic flower motif. A first run of 5000 bottles is being produced, each retailing at 3,500 yen (about $34). In addition, a more exclusive batch, each in quantities of 150, is also being prepared that will be sold in original ceramic bottles.
If you haven’t paid a visit to Murakami’s Bar Zingaro in Nakano, now’s a good excuse.