Japanese Soccer Star Nakata Hidetoshi to Produce Limited Edition Designer Sake

Nakata Hidetoshi n sake by nendo (2)unless otherwise noted, all photos by Hiroshi Iwasaki | click to enlarge

Nakata Hidetoshi, or more commonly just Hide, is Japan’s most famous soccer player. Aside from his legs, which carried him from the Japanese league to the Italian and then the English league, his chiseled good looks have also boosted his popularity, landing him in the pages of Vogue and in Calvin Klein ads. After announcing his retirement in 2006 he’s continued to dabble in soccer-related projects but has also branched out into unrelated fields like writing and charity work.

His latest project is a collaboration with renowned Japanese design firm Nendo and Takagi Shuzo, a sake brewery with close to 300 years of brewing history. Borrowing the first letter of Nakata, Nippon and Nendo, “N” sake will be a limited edition junmai daiginjo (the pinnacle of sake brewing) made from a combination of Yamada Nishiki and Aiyama rice. And to hold his highly polished sake, Hide worked closely with Oki Sato (from Nendo) to design a unique, minimal container that would stand in contrast to the traditional Japanese beverage. The result is a black canteen-looking cylinder with subtle dimples and a protective cover to shield it from ultraviolet rays.


Nakata Hidetoshi n sake by nendo (3)Nakata Hidetoshi n sake by nendo (4)


Nakata Hidetoshi n sake by nendo (5)

nakata n bar

Hide and his N Bar | photo courtesy sunny side up, co.

But this is not Hide’s first foray into firewater. Last year he produced a sake bar in London during the Olympics. “N Bar” served up premium sake from 18 breweries across Japan for an event intended to promote Japanese sake abroad, but also as a way to express gratitude to all the nations that came to Japan’s aid after the earthquake and tsunami.

Nakata Hidetoshi n sake by nendo (1)

source: press release


  1. Do you know if it will only be for sale in Japan?

  2. Sort of random question – who makes all these beautiful japanese retail packages? I see lovely chopsticks holder, perfectly shaped craft boxes, etc. that I just never find in the US, so I assume either they’re made here or they somehow force a much higher standard on the Chinese factory?

    • Tommboy – you mean the actual manufacturing? That’s a good question. If there’s no indication then there’s probably a good chance it was made in China. If it was made in Japan they usually point that out.

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