Healthy Hakko: The Fermented Culinary Arts of Japan, Part 2 Talk with Kaori Ishii and Michael Tremblay

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January 22nd, 2021 @ 9:00 am - January 24th, 2021 @ 9:00 pm EST

Cost: Free
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Talk with Kaori Ishii, director of The Genealogy of Sake and Sake Samurai Michael Tremblay

Sake has come to be known as the drink of the gods. Have you ever wondered how it is made, and the artisans who make it? In this second part of our Healthy Hakko series, in conjunction with the documentary The Genealogy of Sake, we talk to Kaori Ishii, director of the film, and Michael Tremblay, Sake samurai and sake sommelier. The discussion includes a concise introduction to sake, with a description of the mystical dance between sake’s main ingredients, fermentation, koji, the intense work of the sake brewers and the land upon which they live and word. Find out about their thoughts on the increasing number of women brewers, challenges making the film and what breweries are doing to adapt to the pandemic. The talk is moderated by Program Officer Nobi Nakamura, and interpreted by Sakurako Nakazato. Don’t miss watching the film The Genealogy of Sake!

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Kaori Ishii graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of the Sacred Heart. While working at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, Sports and Technology (MEXT) she studied at the Film School of Tokyo after work.

Her first documentary film, Sorry Grandma (2005) won the first prize at the Osaka Abeno Human Documentary Film Festival. Her next one, Chain of Life – The Artistry of Mokuhanzome Kimono (2006), depicted Japan’s oldest dyeing technique and was screened in many festivals around the world. She also worked as an assistant to Sumiko Haneda, who is one of the most famous documentary filmmakers in Japan. She went on to direct for television before producing her next film, A Handful of Salt (2011) which received the Best Cinematography prize at Cebu International Documentary Film Festival.

Her latest film is The Genealogy of Sake (2015) about sake brewers of the Noto peninsula.

The films and programs she directs and produces are on the theme of traditional culture and craftsmanship, some of which have screened in Japan and abroad. Since 2009, she has been a regular visitor to the Noto Peninsula and was invited to direct this sake-themed documentary “The Genealogy of Sake” which has screened at the Milan International Expo 2015 & Hawaii International Film Festival 2016. She was also involved in developing the charm of the region and people of Noto, many whom she met through the film, from various perspectives such as food events, brewery tours, and workshops.


Michael Tremblay is a Sake Samurai, Sake Judge, Sake Sommelier and a perpetual traveller. An International Kikisake-shi, Advanced Sake Professional, French Wine Scholar (Highest Honors) and holder of the WSET Level 3 Award in Wine and Sake, he is based in Toronto, Canada where he can be found continuously learning or teaching someone about sake.

Michael is a Senior Sake Judge for the International Wine Challenge, the largest sake challenge in the world, held in London and Japan. He has also judged for the U.S. National Sake Appraisal and the Toronto International Sake Challenge. He is also an active sake educator and teaches the WSET Level 1 and 3 Award in Sake at Toronto’s Independent Wine Education Guild (IWEG). He has travelled to Japan a multitude of times and has visited or worked at more than 50 sake breweries throughout the country. He has spent the last three years researching the many sake regions of Japan for this course.

The Sake Scholar Course is the culmination of Michael’s many travels in Japan, research and explorations throughout the country. Michael wanted to create a course that conveys both his experiences visiting breweries throughout Japan that tell the many fascinating stories that come with each brewery visit, and to highlight the many unique qualities that Japan’s many sake regions possess that are often overlooked. Michael currently runs the largest sake program in Canada as the Sake Sommelier at Toronto’s Ki Modern Japanese + Bar.

Feb 15 + 22, 2021 > JAPANESE SAKE: UMAMI AND ITS DIALOGUE WITH FOOD – Join this sake & food pairing webinar tailored to Liquor Licensees and Liquor Industry Trade Professionals, presented by JETRO and Sake Institute of Ontario.  This webinar will be lead by Sake Samurai Michael Tremblay and explores Sake’s versatility, tricks for creating perfect food matches with a particular focus on Sake’s secret weapon, umami. Details here >

HEALTHY HAKKO Talks and Discussions

Jan. 15-17 > Dr. Eric Rath (premodern dietary culture) and Dr. Greg de St. Maurice (cultural heritage and food)

Jan. 22-24 > Dr. Victoria Lee (fermentation science in modern Japan) and Dr. Stephen Lyman (Epidemiologist and Shochu expert)

Jan. 22-24 > Kaori Ishii (director of the film The Genealogy of Sake) and Michael Tremblay (Sake Samurai, Sake sommelier)

Jan. 29-31 > Sandor Katz (fermentation revivalist, author and educator) and Shiori Kajiwara (koji specialist, Koji Flowers, Hidamari)

HEALTHY HAKKO Documentary Films

Jan. 15-17 > Dashi, Essence of Japan & Shoyu, the Secrets of Japanese Cuisine Directed by Shohei Shibata

Jan. 22-24 > The Genealogy of Sake Directed by Kaori Ishii

Jan. 29-31 > Katsuo-Bushi Directed by Yu Nakajima

Jan. 29-31 > Fermented Directed by Jonathan Cianfrani


January 22nd, 2021 @ 9:00 am
January 24th, 2021 @ 9:00 pm
Event Category:
English and Japanese with English Interpretation


The Japan Foundation, Toronto
View Organizer Website