Lecture Series 29

Brewing a community:

A sake maker's journey to her roots and beyond


Lecturer: Rumiko Obata

Thursday, June 25, 7pm

The Japan Foundation, Los Angele
(5700 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 100 Los Angeles, CA 90036)

Admission: Free

This event is full

Street parking is available near JFLA. Click here for parking info


Rumiko Obata, owner of Obata Shuzo Sake Brewery in Sado Island, Japan, will be coming to JFLA to talk about carrying on the tradition of her family's sake making business going back five generations, and her passion for the age-old tradition of sake brewing. Sado Island, located approximately 200 miles northwest of Tokyo, provides the ideal climate for sake brewing as it is abundant in rice and water, which are essential ingredients in sake brewing. In her lecture, Rumiko will describe how a passion for sake brewing combined with a passion for community revitalization has guided her towards expanding the mission of Obata Shuzo beyond the business.

The evening will also include an informative overview of sake by certified Master Sake Sommelier Yuji Matsumoto, followed by a brief Japanese language segment in which guests will learn simple useful phrases related to sake from our instructors. At the end of the program, guests will have an opportunity to taste the award winning MANOTSURU from Obata Shuzo Sake Brewery.Come join us for a rich, well-rounded evening and quench your thirst for sake-centric knowledge.

Sake for the tasting provided by VINO DEL SOL.

Guests must be 21 years of age or older to participate in the tasting.

About the lecturers

Born on Sado Island in Japan, Rumiko Obata is the owner and fifth generation successor to her family's sake brewery, Obata Shuzo, which was founded in 1892. After graduating from Keio University with a degree in Political Science, Rumiko spent 7 years in Tokyo working for a movie company. However, in 1995, her passion for sake brewing lead her back to her hometown where she took over and began managing the family business. Obata Shuzo Sake Brewery has since grown and made its way into the global market. Her family's MANOTSURU sake has won the National Sake Competition gold medal 6 years in a row, as well as the gold medal at both the 2007 and 2015 International Wine Challenge in London.


After intense study, Yuji Matsumoto received his sake sommelier certificate from the Sake Service Institute of Japan (SSI) in 2004. He then chose to move to Los Angeles to advocate and promote Japan's sake culture, becoming the first-ever certified Master Sake Sommelier in the United States. Matsumoto has served as president of both the California Sushi Academy as well as the Sake Institute of America, and he is the current Sake Sommelier and Beverage Director for Kabuki Restaurants, Inc. Among his many awards and accomplishments, he has served as the official Senior Sake Judge at the International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London since 2012, conducted more than 300 sake seminars, and writes regular columns for Japanese Restaurant News as well as Sushi and Sake Magazine.