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Taketsuru

Masataka Taketsuru (竹鶴 政孝 Taketsuru Masataka, 1894–1979) founded Japan's whisky industry. He was born in 1894 in Takehara, Hiroshima to a family that had owned a sake brewery since 1733. Experiences in Scotland In 1918 he took summer classes in organic chemistry at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. He studied under Thomas Stewart Patterson, the Gardiner Chair of Chemistry. He also worked at a number of Scottish distilleries. In 1920, he married Jessie Roberta "Rita" Cowan of Middlecroft, Kirkintilloch, despite opposition from both their families. Initially, they lived in Campbeltown and Taketsuru worked at Hazelburn distillery before moving to Japan later in 1920 via New York and Seattle. After returning to Japan, Taketsuru worked at Kotobukiya, which would later become Suntory, where he helped establish a whisky distillery. However, in 1934 he founded his own distilling company, Dai Nippon Kaju K.K., in Yoichi on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaidō. He believed that this part of Japan was the most similar to Scotland. He later renamed the company Nikka. Nikka whisky was first sold in October 1940. Taketsuru's wife, Rita, died in January 1961, of liver disease. Taketsuru died in 1979. He is buried in Yoichi together with his wife.

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