November 2, 2020
November 2, 2020
Saijo, the Sake Town
"Saijo, the capital of sake". If you ever visited Saijo and come to Saijo station, that's the welcoming word you will see on the wall while taking down the escalator before heading to the Boulevard, the main street of the city.
Saijo is a town of Higashi-Hiroshima city in the suburb area of Hiroshima prefecture, Japan. Today, we will introduce you Saijo and its sake history but particularly new facts that have shaped living in this small town: "internationalization".
Sake breweries is the most noticeable of Saijo's landscape. There are 8 sake breweries reside in Saijo to produce the finest sake in the world. The manufacturing sites draw a charming traditional beauty with a range of white walls and a black wooden underneath buildings, with beautiful scriptures written on their chimneys. The only institution for research in alcoholic beverage in Japan is also found here in Saijo: the National Research Institute of Brewing. Above that, Saijo host once a year the "Sake festival", one of the largest of its kind in Japan on the beginning of October. In short, Saijo is truly the capital of Sake.
It is not by chance that the head office of Satake is based here in Saijo. Actually, Saijo, Sake, and Satake has long drew jointly or married, if it is not exaggerating, their history together. Ri'ichi Satake, the founder of Satake has brought into the sake brewing industry an innovative sake rice milling technology which mills the sake rice grain by grinding gradually without breaking it and leaving only a high quality polished kernel, the best part to produce the finest sake. The premium "Ginjo-shu" was born here in Saijo, a newly kind of sake made of rice milled with Satake's precision milling technology back in early 1900s.
Added to the sake part of Saijo, it is also a university town where the biggest campus of Hiroshima University is based. One of Japan's top global national universities, Hiroshima University accommodates international students through various exchange programs, scholarships, and training. Foreign residents in Higashi-Hiroshima have reached almost 8000 in 2020 where 3000 of them resides in Saijo and where international students holds the biggest share, 35%.
Although it is not usual for a small local town in Japan to see such a great number of foreign resident, considering its location: far from big cities, it has become a new normal here in Saijo to see families and kids speaking different languages at municipal playing grounds, international exchange events such as international dinner to enjoy dishes from several countries at the Hiroshima International Center by JICA Chugoku region located in Saijo. Higashi-Hiroshima city is also offering support services for foreign residents. In Sunsquare, a public international exchange facility, for example, guidance services in different languages to help foreign residents with procedures are available, besides, the building also provides housing dedicated only for international students and their families.
Along with Saijo, Satake carries on internationalization, too. Here in our head office, we work jointly with our international subsidiaries as if there are no space or hour differences between us. We hold regular video meetings, prepare documents in different languages to eliminate any possible barriers. It is settled in our job here in Saijo to receive calls from all parts of the world every day. Staff and employees are encouraged to practice a global mindset through international programs such as language learning, and diversity training program for managers.
To develop the world's finest products for our customer is one of Satake's motto. But we are also happy to see our customer develop the world's finest product using our technology from Saijo to the world.