The World’s First Academic Discipline

Sakeology is the world’s first academic discipline, featuring extensive learning with an interdisciplinary focus specifically on sake, which is rooted in Japanese culture and traditions.

Students acquire knowledge and skills related to the raw materials (such as water and rice suited to brewing sake) and microorganisms involved in brewing and fermenting, learn about the distribution and sales systems involved in delivering sake to consumers, and fields related to marketing. Students also learn about how climate and natural features affect brewing, and other topics related to regional characteristics, such as geographical indications, as well as studying history, sake taxation, brewing equipment, how best to enjoy sake, health effects of sake, and other various topics related to sake.

Our Sakeology education encourages systematic interdisciplinary understanding of sake with not just classroom study, but also self-motivated problem-solving study through practical training and seminars.

Sakeology research not only encompasses the existing fields of brewing and fermentation, but also extends beyond them with research focused on fields related to sake, to produce research findings that are shared far and wide, both domestically and internationally.

We will work to establish Niigata University as the world’s first hub for Sakeology, an academic discipline dedicated to the systematic study of sake.

*The above specialized areas are examples.

The Birth of Sakeology

Left: Mr. HANAZUMI Hideyo, Governor of Niigata Prefecture
Center: Prof. TAKAHASHI Sugata, Former President of Niigata University
Right: Mr. ODAIRA Shunji, Chairman of Niigata Sake Brewers Association
(photo taken at the Sakeology Symposium on August 3, 2018)

Niigata Prefecture, Niigata Sake Brewers Association, and Niigata University have entered into a tripartite partnership agreement in May, 2017 to establish Sakeology as an academic discipline covering a broad variety of cultural and scientific fields related to sake, and contribute to Niigata’s establishment and development as an international hub of Sakeology.

Niigata University works in cooperation with the other partnership members to establish Sakeology as an academic discipline that integrates cultural and scientific elements related to sake, giving back to society through the university’s educational and research results, to contribute to the industrial development of Niigata Prefecture and to share the appeal of Niigata Sake.

Sakeology Center, Niigata University was established in April, 2018 based on this agreement. The Center takes advantage of Niigata University’s strengths as a comprehensive university, drawing upon faculty members from extensive research and education fields. In addition, the Center also makes the most of this tripartite collaboration among Niigata University, Niigata Prefecture, and Niigata Sake Brewers Association to engage in Education, Research, Information Dissemination, and International Exchange related to sake.

新潟大学学長 牛木 辰男

President of Niigata University
February 1, 2020

Sakeology Center, Niigata University made a new start on January 1, 2020, as a University-wide Organization for Research and Education at Niigata University.

The Center has its origin in the tripartite partnership agreement entered into by Niigata Prefecture, Niigata Sake Brewers Association, and Niigata University on May 9, 2017. The main purpose of this agreement was to establish the new academic discipline of Sakeology, which covers a wide range of academic fields including the cultural and scientific aspects of sake. To this end, Sakeology Center was established on April 1, 2018, within the Institute for Research Promotion of Niigata University, to create an international hub for the discipline of Sakeology.

For the roughly two years since its establishment, the Center has also actively worked to introduce Sakeology outside Japan: for example, the Center has entered into an exchange agreement with the Institute of Vine and Wine Science, University of Bordeaux, France. As a result of these efforts, we have formally established Sakeology Center as a university-wide organization of Niigata University.

In this way, we have built a structure for concentrating knowledge of various research fields by fully utilizing our strengths as a research-minded comprehensive university. As we work to become the international hub of Sakeology by building on the foundation, we have developed to date through the tripartite collaboration among Niigata Prefecture, Niigata Sake Brewers Association, and Niigata University, we will endeavor to establish Sakeology by focusing our efforts on Education, Research, Information Dissemination, and International Exchange.

We sincerely look forward to growing together with our partners, students, supporters, and the local community.Information

新潟県知事 花角 英世

Governor of Niigata Prefecture
August 3, 2018

I have looked forward with great anticipation to the opening of Sakeology Center, Niigata University this year and the start of lectures there, among other efforts in establishing the academic discipline of Sakeology.

These efforts are based on a partnership agreement among industry, academia, and government, and I believe that they will serve as a role model for regional revitalization that takes advantage of the unique features of the prefecture. As worldwide interest in sake continues to increase, I believe that establishing this hub for academic research related to sake will help Niigata become known both domestically and internationally as a renowned sake brewing region, much as Bordeaux, France is known worldwide for its wine.

Niigata Prefecture is home to Niigata Prefectural Sake Research Institute, Japan’s one and only prefectural-run examination and research organization dedicated to sake — just one of the prefecture’s various efforts to promote the sake industry. We hope to see a continued expansion of these broad efforts, with Sakeology Center taking a leading role, and expect that Niigata University will become a hub of learning in this field, drawing researchers and students from all over the world.

We believe that sake is a major attraction of Niigata Prefecture, worthy of being shared with the world. Niigata Prefecture will continue to put its full strength behind expanding the local sake industry, hoping that it leads to increased recognition of the Niigata Sake brand, drawing numerous visitors from both Japan and overseas.

新潟県酒造組合会長 大平 俊治

Chairman of
Niigata Sake Brewers Association
April 1, 2018

To everyone at Niigata University,

It has already been almost a year since the tripartite agreement among Niigata University, Niigata Prefecture, and Niigata Sake Brewers Association to establish an international hub of Sakeology. On April 1, 2018, Sakeology Center, Niigata University was officially inaugurated; I believe that the memorandum of understanding among the three parties was an important step.

By including Niigata Prefecture in the memorandum of understanding alongside Niigata University and Niigata Sake Brewers Association, we achieve an even stronger triangular structure, which has enabled us to overcome numerous difficulties.

Equilateral triangles are known for their incredible strength. Niigata University serves as a hub for research and for classes to be held. Niigata Sake Brewers Association and Niigata Prefecture provide support with respect to the university. Niigata Sake Brewers Association serves as living educational material on the topic of sake. In addition, the prefecture invites various people to visit Japan from overseas, increasing inbound tourism. The prefecture will continue to support efforts like these to publicize the special characteristics of Niigata Sake.

Sakeology Center is the first of its kind in the world. I believe that Niigata Prefecture will become an international hub of Sakeology, drawing people from around the world.

I thank you all for your support, and I hope to see many people at the Sakeology classes starting in April. I am confident that interest in sake will serve as a first step toward developing an interest in Sakeology.