|Luiz Pagano visited Brazilian indigenous tribes to search the cauim / above - Yasutaka Daimon explains relationship of the sake to Japanese religions|
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The sake and cauim has much in common, almost two thousand years ago, the Japanese believed that sake could only be produced if the rice were pre-chewed by virgins, known as bijinshu or 美人酒 or ʺbeatiful women of sake”, the same happens in Brazil, tribes of almost all indigenous ethnic groups have virgins who chew manioc (sort of Brazilian cassava) and spit in a pot so that can ferment.
Actually, the alcoholic fermentation only occurs when fungi transform sugars into alcohol, rice as much as cassava contains no sugar in natura, so they are not ready for fermentation, so chewing, not necessarily by virgins, becomes necessary, human saliva contains an enzyme called amylases, which breaks down starch molecules into sugar.
|Indian tribes producing cauim compared to ancient Japanese people producing sake|
Japanese people drank saké even before their first contact with China. The Kojiki (古事記), "Records of Ancient Matters" written during the Nara period (710‐94) suggests that the first saké in Japan was called Kuchikami no sake, (口噛みの酒) or chewing‐in‐the mouth sake.ʺ
Other countries produce starch wines around the world, Chicha made from corn in Central America, the Cheongju a type of rice wine of Korea and Hariya also made out of rice in India.
It is well known that long before the arrival of Europeans, people coming from Asia were already living in the Americas. The Zuni tribe has left perplexed anthropologists with their language, they speak a language so similar to the Japanese that could hardly be seen as coincidence.
Some similar words as for example; To be Inside in Japanese is 'uchi', in Zuni is also 'Uchi', the word used in Japanese for Yes is 'Hai' for both languages, and thus continues for many other words. Both Zuni and Japanese use the verb as the last word of a sentence, a feature only 45% of languages share. This might not seem like much, but the Zuni language is very different in this than other languages around them.
|Above - A Zuni rosette, below - Imperial Seal Japan - See how face painting resembles the Japanese kabuki masks|
Davis; Nancy Yaw; "The Zuni Enigma," NEARA Journal, 27:39, Summer/Fall 1993. NEARA = New England Antiquities Research Association.
My research on the production of cauim, which began by the chewing process, and went to the use of synthetic amylase and inevitably led me to use fungi, technique used in Japan and in Brazil by producer tiquira from the Brazilian states of Piaui and Maranhão.
In a methodical manner I was taken to visit factories in Piauí, Maranhão and finally in Japan, where I had an illuminating insight.
I’m graduated in international business, I wanted to know the culture of the peoples around the world, after the initial frustration in financial market, I’ve found in alcoholic beverages the perfect vehicle to become intimate to cultural knowledge. An alcoholic beverage goes far beyond mere fluid that make us drunk, they are closely related to the human soul.
Take a Burgundy wine and understand the spirit of its people, the wine is closely linked to the Catholic religion, is an essential part of the Eucharistic and thus, vines were tested in churches in different parts around the globe, creating wines that expresses in better or worse forms, in the various terroires all around the world.
The same goes for the sake, which is closely related the Shinto and Buddhist religions in Japan.
The traditional religious beliefs of the Japanese people, in common with most of Brazil's indigenous peoples, are a based upon a mixture of respect for the abundance of nature, a fear of natural disasters, and respect for ancestors. The concept of god in Japan is not that of an omnipotent creator of all things like we believe in occident.
According to Daimon Yasutaka, sixth-generation Japanese sake brewer, owner of Daimon Brewery, producer of Mukune Junmai Ginjo and Tozai Honjozo and Nigorion, head of Japanese Sake Export Association (SEA) the “Naorai”, the act of first offer food and drink to the gods is related to yearly festivals, called "matsuri" in Japan (very similar ideas are found in Brazilian indigenous tribes).
|Luiz Pagano trip to Japan to research koji - to the right - Luiz Pagano asking for blessings in a Buddhist temple |
for Cauim project
All this rich spiritual involvement that I noticed with the trip, along with the huge accumulated knowledge for hundreds of years of the Japanese people, made me realize that the different varieties of Koji (麹 菌 Koji-kin, fungi used to replace the saliva of virgins) together with multiple production characteristics that go far beyond the simple breakdown of starch to obtain the alcohol, (different types of koji also has the property to break down proteins and lipids, offering multiple options), reaching an infinite range of flavors of options that only the spirit of an artist is able to conceive.
Behold! A new world of flavors is about to present itself when the first bottles of cauim start moving out of several Brazilian producers.