Japanese Ritual on an Irish Holiday

March 14, 2007

Author: Rebecca Mayer

Source: The Forest Grove News-Times


Guinness is the obvious drink of choice on St. Patrick’s Day. But in the irony that is America’s melting pot, Japanese saké gets the spotlight in Forest Grove.

SakéOne is inviting the community out for the annual blessing of the Kura on Saturday, March 17. The Shinto ceremony will be presided over by the Rev. Koichi Barish of the Tsubaki Grand Shrine in Granite Falls, Wash. The ceremony will be followed with a performance by Portland Taiko drummers, and Obukan Kendo Club, also of Portland.

This is the first year that SakéOne is inviting the public. “Being the Americans making saké, it’s something that we want to do,” said Dewey Weddington, marketing director at SakéOne.

Saké is an important element in Shinto rituals and was originally used as a gift to an Okamisama (divine being). Traditionally every sakéry has a relationship with a Shinto shrine. Thus, SakéOne, as one of only two sakéries in the U.S., has a relationship with Tsubaki Grand Shrine, the closest Shinto shrine to Forest Grove.