Yeast Explores History

(1) The Three Brothers of the Ohta Family

Yeast “It’s already autumn. The stars are very clear... Perhaps the ancestors of Daishichi are also shining among those stars... Ah, I’ve completely woken up. Let’s go chat with Old Well.”
Old Well “Hey Yeast, what are you doing up so late at night?”
Yeast “Do you know how Daishichi got started?”
Old Well “It started with three brothers, roughly 400 years ago. The names of the brothers were Ichizaemon, Genbe and Saburobe Ohta. According to tradition they were from the Seiwa Genji line from which also the famous founder of Edo Castle, Dokan Ohta, hailed. They had come all the way to eastern Japan from the old Ise province, bringing an Amida trinity with them.”
Yeast “Why did they travel to eastern Japan?”
Old Well “Well... it happened long before I was born and is all hearsay. At a certain time, they started brewing sake. They probably became merchants because they lost their lord in a battle. But it was not the case that just everyone could start brewing sake. A permit from the domain lord was necessary. In Hitachi province, in the Kanto region, they met lord Niwa and they became the hereditary merchants of lord Niwa, following him whenever he was sent to another province. In the Kan’ei period, now 360 years ago, they finally arrived with lord Niwa in the to them new world of Nihonmatsu. This is how it all started.”
Yeast “I see.”
Old Well “The first ancestor was in fact Shigekata Ohta, but he died soon from an illness after coming to Nihonmatsu. Nihonmatsu was very small at that time. It was lord Niwa’s first task to enlarge the castle town. The three brothers were also given important tasks. The eldest son Ichizaemon built a house in the sixth ward of the castle town and was given the position of warimoto, having to oversee the land tax and corvee labor of the citizens. The second brother Genbe and third brother Saburobe built their own residences and both started brewing sake. They divided the Amida trinity they had brought with them and each received one statue as protector of his family.”
Yeast “Are those Amida statues still in existence?”
Old Well “It’s possible, but I have never seen them. The two younger brothers named their businesses “Seshuya,” after Ise province. The second son choose the brand name ‘Tanikaze’ for his sake, and the third son ‘Kintoki.’ At that time brewing went on throughout the year, except in the hottest time of summer. It was only later that kanzukuri, brewing in the cold season, became the norm. Because the sake companies flourished, eventually the family of the second brother became the head of the three Ohta families. He took the hereditary name Chozaemon Ohta, having achieved the hereditary right to bear a surname and wear a sword. In other words, he had the same rank as a samurai and became one of the wealthiest merchants of the castle town. But the youngest brother held his own with him. At the time of the 4th head, Saburobe Yoshishige Ohta, the family of the third brother surpassed that of the older one. Now pay good attention, Yeast: the founder of Daishichi was the son of Saburobe Yoshishige Ohta... Ah, the bell crickets have fallen still. It’s time to sleep for them too. Why don’t you go to sleep as well, we can continue this story at another time.”
Yeast “Thank you for your interesting story, Old Well, and good night!”