Farmers reproduce apple drink in Osamu Dazai novel

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Bottles of Rasho and Tsugaru alcoholic apple ciders

AOMORI — Farmers in Goshogawara, Aomori Prefecture, recently created an alcoholic apple cider that attempts to reproduce a beverage mentioned in “Tsugaru,” a novel by Osamu Dazai.

Akinaga Toki, 41, and other apple farmers in Goshogawara developed two types of cider and have begun producing them commercially.

The ciders will be on sale in the Sanchoku Merosu tourism and shopping facility in the city and other locations from April 29. The farmers plan to produce more bottles.

Toki and the other farmers began studying how to make the apple drink last year and succeeded in February.

One is called Tsugaru, which reproduces an apple cider mentioned in Dazai’s novel “Tsugaru,” the name of Aomori Prefecture’s northwestern area. A type of sake yeast is used to make the drink, which features a strong acidic taste.

The other, named Rasho, uses a typical wine yeast and features a highly fragrant finish.

The alcohol content of both drinks is 7% and a 330-milliliter bottle costs ¥1,350.

“There was little information to go by because the novel was set during World War II, so we struggled with the recipe,” Toki said, during his visit to the prefectural government office in late March to introduce the products to Gov. Shingo Mimura. “We hope the beverages will represent the prefecture.”