Sumikawa Shuzo has been in business for 100 years as of 2021.
Takafumi Sumikawa has displayed unrivaled dedication to his craft ever since becoming the brewery's fourth toji (chief brewer).
Despite facing challenges after a major natural disaster and almost being forced to close the business, he worked together with his friends to push forward into the future.
He and the brewery will continue to evolve and combine heritage and innovation moving forward.
We maintain a strong focus on making sake that is 100% pure both in taste and quality, with the belief that the true path of sake is in the usual rather than the unusual.
We are dedicated to making sake that resonates with our Japanese DNA and has the roundness, sweetness, and umami of the rice used in its production.
It is our hope that the magnificent, fruity aroma will make people who have never had sake before familiar with it.
Founded in 1921 by the Sumikawa family, a family of rice wholesalers, who took over a relative's sake brewery.
The brand name, "Toyo Bijin" ("Eastern Beauty"), was chosen by the first head of the family in memory of his late wife.
The fourth generation toji, Takafumi Sumikawa, was greatly influenced by Akitsuna Takagi, the head of the Takagi Shuzo brewery, whom he met during an off-campus internship while attending the Tokyo University of Agriculture. He learned both technique and attitude toward the art under Takagi. The staff, impressed by the way Sumikawa sacrificed everything to brew his sake and put his body on the line to rebuild the business, have remained at his side, sharing in his efforts, to this day.
Torrential rain hit Hagi City at the end of July 2013, resulting in devastating damage. The brewery was flooded to above the floor level, the steamers and other pieces of machinery were rendered unusable, and more than 10,000 bottles of the sake stored in their refrigerators were washed away.
After learning of the disaster, more than 1,500 people joined the restoration efforts, and the sake brewery, previously thought to be incapable of producing sake any more, made a miraculous recovery.
In 2014, they built a new three-story sake brewery. It is equipped with the latest machinery and technology, and combined with the sensibilities that Takafumi has honed and demonstrated through countless years of experience, the brewery has raised the quality of its sake to into a new realm to pass down the culture of sake brewing to future generations.
Born in 1973 in Hagi City (formerly Tamagawacho), Yamaguchi Prefecture.
After graduating from the Brewing Department of Tokyo University of Agriculture, he joined the family business, Sumikawa Shuzo, and made Toyo Bijin into a popular brand.
He received practical training at Takagi Shuzo, a brewing company in Yamagata, as a student.
He was trained under the tutelage of Akitsuna Takagi, the managing director and chief brewer of Juyondai sake.
His passionate approach to sake brewing, which is second to none, has earned him a reputation within the industry.
The taste and quality of the sake his passion produces are highly regarded both in Japan and abroad.