Yonabaru establishes Okinawa’s first ordinance to toast with awamori

Yonabaru establishes Okinawa’s first ordinance to toast with awamori

Mayor Tsutomu Teruya (center) and fellow town office workers celebrating the establishment of “toasting with awamori ordinance.”

July 10, 2019 Ryukyu Shimpo

An auspicious custom with awamori.

On July 9, in hopes of passing on the culture of and to promote Ryukyu awamori, the Yonabaru Town Council unanimously agreed on Okinawa Prefecture’s first “ordinance that promotes toasting with Yonabaru Town’s Ryukyu awamori” during their extraordinary meeting.

The ordinance also went into effect on the same day.

The hope is that while observing alcohol consumption etiquette and respecting individual preferences, this ordinance will appeal to townspeople and businesses to toast with Ryukyu awamori, which will lead to expanded consumption. Mayor Tsutomu Teruya said, “We’d like to toast with awamori during the town’s official events as much as possible.

Younger people may dislike it without even having tried it, so with the establishment of this ordinance, we want to increase the number of opportunities for them to familiarize themselves with awamori culture.”

Since there are 125 active toasting ordinances for sake and shochu in all of Japan, the Okinawa Prefecture Liquor Manufactures Association and Masahiro Brewery had submitted an appeal to Yonabaru City, which had a factory before the war, and Itoman City, which has the current factory, to request the establishment of an ordinance.

Yonabaru City unanimously agreed during the regular meeting in June and the ordinance was established.

As for the Itoman City Council, although the Uehara Brewery also filed the appeal under a joint signature, the council continues to deliberate.

The said ordinance promotes toasting with Ryukyu awamori, which are in a downward trend in terms of shipment, and passes on the awamori culture to the next generation.

The hope is that the town, businesses, and townspeople all individually play a part in this, which will lead to industrial development and regional revitalization.

Okinawa Prefecture Liquor Manufactures Association Managing Director Shinken Tsuchiya happily said, “Ryukyu awamori is Japan’s oldest distilled alcohol and is Okinawa’s tradition.

‘Let’s start off with some beer for now’ is good too, but I hope that this will turn into ‘Let’s start with some awamori for now.’(The establishment of this ordinance) should lead to an expansion in awamori consumption focusing in Yonabaru.”

Masahiro Brewery President Masakuni Higa said, “It is my mission to protect and pass on awamori. I appreciate that people are showing they understand that. ”

(English translation by T&CT and Chelsea Ashimine)

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