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Keanu Reeves groups up with Suntory for brand spanking new sequence exploring Japanese whisky and 'monozukuri'

Japanese whisky has develop into a sought-after drink all over the world, impressing whisky lovers for whom one model reigns supreme: Suntory.

Ever since Bill Murray’s character popularised the phrase “For relaxing times, make it Suntory time” in “Lost in Translation,” a 2003 film filmed in Tokyo and directed by Sofia Coppola, gross sales have gone by way of the roof, with Suntory’s Hakushu 12 Year and Hibiki 17 Year utterly promoting out in 2018.

Now, it seems one other Hollywood actor has a factor for Suntory, with Keanu Reeves fronting a brand new four-part sequence on Suntory referred to as “The Nature and Spirit of Japan: An exploration of Monozukuri” with Keanu Reeves. Filmed by Sofia Coppola’s brother, Roman Coppola, the sequence explores 4 components that mix to make Suntory what it’s: Mizu (Water), Bi (Beauty), Kabuku (Transform) and Hibiki (Resonance).

▼ The first episode, “Water“, explores the prime ingredient with out which there can be no Suntory whisky.

The above episode attracts consideration to a few of the finer factors in relation to ice and water and their relationship to the making and ingesting of whisky, however one level they glean over is the stone marker on the location the place the corporate was first based in Osaka, which bears the identify “Kotobukiya“, and the identify of the founder, Shinjiro Torii.

▼ The historical past of the corporate, alluded to by this stone, is especially fascinating.


Torii entered the business in 1899 as a wine service provider, earlier than one explicit fortified wine referred to as “Akadama” (actually “red sphere”) took off, main him to increase the enterprise into an organization referred to as “Kotobukiya” in 1921. Whisky-making adopted quickly after, with Torii organising the Yamazaki distillery, Japan’s first distillery, in 1923, adopted by the debut of Suntory whisky in 1929. The firm ultimately modified its identify from Kotobukiya to Suntory in 1963, with the phrase “Suntory” combining the phrase “sun“, as a nod to the Akadama wine, whose meaning translates to “sun”, and “tory“, the Westernised model of Torii, the founder’s first identify.

As this sequence of movies focusses on monozukuri, a phrase that actually interprets to “the making of things” however is used to confer with handmade merchandise or “craftsmanship”, it additionally explores totally different Japanese cultural traditions resembling washi (Japanese paper), sumi (calligraphy ink), ikebana (flower association) and toki (pottery).

▼ These matters are explored additional within the second episode, “Beauty“.

Unfortunately, Reeves commits a typical fake pas by standing in his socks within the genkan after taking off his sneakers on this episode — your socked toes ought to solely contact the within of the home and never the skin space the place the sneakers go, requiring a direct step up from shoe to accommodate to keep away from dirtying your socks — however that’s one thing noh masks maker Keiko Udaka will seemingly overlook as she focusses on imparting her essence into the beautiful items she makes.


Reeves additionally takes a unsuitable flip when crafting his personal mix of whisky with fifth Generation Chief Blender Shinji Fukuyo, however his ardour for the drink is evident to see, and this ardour continues with the third instalment, “Transform“.

This episode focusses on the ingredient of magic that every one artists and artisans encounter through the course of of making their work — that unplanned flick of ink from that comes throughout a brushstroke, or a taste from a mix that surprises even the blender. While artisans are in a position to craft merchandise by drawing on their particular person essence and years of expertise, the supplies themselves have an inherent marvel that takes flight through the course of, or, in Reeves’ phrases, they “find their own voice and expression as the spirit becomes fully realised”.

The video ends with Reeves making an extremely salient level that completely captures the essence of monozukuri or Japanese craftsmanship — the imaginative and prescient of refinement. Reeves quotes what he learnt from Suntory’s chief blender, saying: “We should take into consideration perfection however we should know that we’ll by no means have perfection“.

It’s an ethos that extends to all areas of Japanese life, from craftsmanship to martial arts, to the customized of “omotenashi” within the customer support business, and even on a regular basis relations, with the idea of ichigo ichie (actually “one life, one meeting”), the place effort is made to make each encounter as memorable and cherished as doable.

▼ This perception into the Japanese mindset is an ideal segue into the final episode of the sequence, “Resonance“.

In this remaining episode, all the pieces comes collectively, bringing what we’ve discovered in regards to the previous along with the current, and discussing its ramifications for the individuals of as we speak. It’s a deep topic that Reeves enjoys delving into, and he does so by expressing some deep and poetic statements about life, even leaving Shingo Torii, the third Generation Master Blender and grandson of founder Shinjiro Torii, bemused together with his assertion that whisky could make him need to “stroll within the woods and return to the water“.

One of Reeves’ most profound statements, nevertheless, comes in the direction of the top, when he says: “The art that you bring to it, the performance, the knowledge, the craft, that’s the best of being human.”

It’s a sentiment we couldn’t agree with extra, and so, on this one centesimal yr of Suntory celebrations, we elevate a can of Hakushu and Yamazaki to each the enduring artisans of Japan and the Hollywood heavyweights who frolicked attending to know them. Here’s hoping Reeves and Coppola return for extra Japanese adventures!

Bar data

Bar High Five / バー ハイ・ファイブ

Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Ginza 5-4-15, Efflore Ginza5 Bldg, B1F

東京都中央区銀座5-4-15 エフローレギンザ5ビル B1F

Open: 5 p.m.-11:30 p.m. (final order 11 p.m.)

Closed Sundays and public holidays

Source: YouTube/The House of Suntory

Insert photographs: YouTube/The House of Suntory

Read extra tales from SoraNews24.

— Suntory would love you to purchase a three-million yen bottle of Japanese whisky

— Blossom Harmony Hibiki is Japan’s latest must-try whisky

— Japanese whisky tasting on-line: Suntory’s Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries now have distant excursions

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