Sake brewer(s)

The term for workers involved in sake brewing. In Nada, there is a long history of kan-zukuri (concentrating brewing in the coldest part of the year), and so sake production work was limited to the winter season. As a result, brewing was carried out mainly with seasonal labourers. The majority of workers were temporarily hired hands aiming to supplement the family income in the slack season for agriculture or fishery work (late autumn to early spring). They would return to their boats or farms at the end of the brewing season. It was customary for this pattern to be repeated on an annual basis.

Workers from the same home region go as a team to work in a brewery together, structured into a hierarchy by role and so on, and led by a master worker known as toji (杜氏). The master brewer has ultimate responsibility for the practical aspects of brewing, and, managing all the workers from his assistant (kashira, 頭) down, is engaged in the operation of all processes, from the handling of raw materials until storage and maturation.

His assistant is in immediate command of the various tasks, and directs the various workers from koji shunin (the worker in charge of koji making) down. The shubo shunin is in charge of yeast starter production.

The term sannyaku (originally describing three high ranks of sumo wrestlers) is used to include the Master Brewer, his kashira assistant and the worker in charge of koji, though sometimes the same expression is applied to the assistant, the koji shunin and shubo shunin. Beneath them workers responsible for particular tasks and their assistants are assigned as necessary, and so sake brewing proceeds.