On June 16, the General Incorporated Foundation Asahi Shuzo Memorial Foundation held the 2024 Research Grant Presentation Ceremony on the 12th floor of the brewery in Yamaguchi. On that day, right after the grant presentation ceremony at the sake brewery, I departed for JFK Airport in the United States, so  this report of mine is delayed to be publicized. The seven recipients, selected from all over the country, ranged from Professor Yamamura of Chuo University to Professor Naoko Kohashi of Kagoshima University.

Everyone must be wondering, “What is this about?” In fact, we are conducting the research grant project  to support young researchers in the field of water research. For years, I have been pondering, “Is it enough for DASSAI, which produces sake thanks to the blessings of water, to just conduct business?” and “Shouldn't we be doing something more proactive for society besides delivering delicious sake?”

Looking at companies like Suntory, to protect the water, they purchase as much forested land behind water sources as possible and carry out forest regeneration projects. I have heard that young employees of theirs actually go there and work hard. Hearing such stories, I kept asking myself, “What can we do?”

One day, Professor Kazutoshi Kan, a former vice president of Shibaura Institute of Technology, suggested to me and the president of DASSAI, “In that case, why not support young researchers who are studying water? They are working hard with very limited research funds.” Inspired by his suggestion, we established this foundation with the purpose of “helping young researchers involved in water research.”

(Incidentally, we assisted with the World Water Forum held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York last spring, as part of this initiative. This year, it was held in Bali, Indonesia, and our company was represented by the president and a sales representative. There are even discussions about how we will participate next year if it is held in Saudi Arabia. Regardless, I believe we should participate since water issues are more important than the sales of DASSAI.)

Returning to the foundation, this year we received 27 applications from universities and research institutions nationwide, and we narrowed it down to 7 research projects for this year's grant presentation ceremony. (On a personal note, I was a bit pleased that Professor Akamatsu's research from Yamaguchi University was selected, being a local resident myself.)

Moreover, we were delighted to hear that Professor Taikan Oki from the University of Tokyo, one of our judges, was selected as this year's recipient of the Stockholm Water Prize, often referred to as the Nobel Prize of Water. This added further prestige to our ceremony.

Some of you may remember my appearance on a Japanese TV program  “Hoko x Tate,” where Professor Oki was an advisor for Mitsubishi Rayon’s Cleansui division, my opponent in a water-tasting contest. It is quite sentimental that, after over ten years, I now had the opportunity to invite him as a judge for DASSAI.

I would like to share a small pleasure with everyone. At the recipients' seats, there was a paper bag containing a bottle of  “DASSAI 23” as a supplementary prize. When the MC mentioned this, all the recipients looked down and smiled, which made me happy. Someone once said that good sake makes everyone smile, and I felt we got a little closer to the level.

Additionally, I was intrigued by Professor Yamamura of Chuo University’s research on “Establishing guidelines for water quality purification and developing a water quality management app for the active use of rainwater.” Although the detailed research discussions were a bit beyond me, what caught my interest was the experiment of making beer from rainwater. If beer can be made, then making DASSAI from rainwater might not just be a dream.


Here is the list of awardees and their research topics.

  1. Naoko Kohashi (Specially Appointed Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Kagoshima University)

   Theme: On-site Observation for Sensor Detection of Blue-green Algae

   ・Conducts field surveys in multiple water bodies with different environmental conditions to address the issue of abnormal proliferation    

     of blue-green algae worldwide.

    Proposes a method to determine the presence of large cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) using a multi-wavelength excitation

    fluorescence altimeter.


  1. Akira Wada (Senior Researcher, Riverfront Research Institute)

   Theme: Case Studies for the Social Implementation of Small-scale Waterside Ecological Restoration

   ・Aims to create environments where diverse flora and fauna can live and thrive, and to build vibrant communities by facilitating

    ecological restoration along familiar watersides through collaboration among various stakeholders. Focuses on the social

    implementation of ecological restoration through cooperative, enjoyable, and hands-on efforts.


  1. Yoshihisa Akamatsu (Professor, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Yamaguchi University)

   Theme: Comprehensive Fish and Insect Biodiversity Assessment for Net Gain in Biodiversity Across Watersheds

   ・Uses environmental DNA quantitative metabarcoding to comprehensively understand the presence and density of species across

    watersheds. Aims to develop an innovative model to predict the diversity of fish and insects.


  1. Akira Tai (Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Disaster Mitigation Studies, Faculty of Environmental Studies, Fukuoka Institute of Technology)

   Theme: Harmonizing Urban and Waterside Environments: Comprehensive Evaluation of Multifaceted Water Environment Functions

   ・Focuses on retention basins, a key component of urban stormwater management systems, to develop a comprehensive evaluation

    method for their multifaceted functions. Contributes to the creation of waterside environments and a decision-making framework

    involving diverse local stakeholders, based on understanding the interactions between various functions.


  1. Sohei Kobayashi (Associate Professor, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University)

   Theme: Classification and Formation Mechanisms of Groundwater in Gravel-bed Rivers and Indicator Species

   ・Based on field surveys in rivers with developed sandbars like the Kurobe River, aims to classify types of groundwater and elucidate the

     hydrological, water quality, and biological characteristics, as well as the mechanisms of formation and maintenance for each type.


  1. Hiroshi Yamamura (Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Chuo University)

   Theme: Development of Water Quality Purification Guidelines and Water Quality Management Apps for Active Rainwater Utilization

   ・Aims to establish a new water circulation system centered on rainwater and to move away from traditional transport-dependent water

    supply systems. Develops guidelines for water quality purification and a water quality management app to contribute to the formation

    of a decarbonized society.


  1. Takuya Matsuura (Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, University of Yamanashi)

   Theme: Proposals for Sustainable Groundwater Use in the Kofu Basin Based on Numerical Experiments

   ・Uses an unsteady 3D groundwater model to quantitatively clarify sustainable groundwater use in the Kofu Basin. Identifies sustainable

     groundwater extraction rates that do not cause groundwater issues.