Skip to content
Open Access Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 2, 2014

Constructed heritage and co-produced meaning: the re-branding of wines from the Koshu grape

Aaron Kingsbury
From the journal Contemporary Japan


The last decade has seen large-scale cultural changes in the table grape and wine production industries of the Kōfu Basin in Yamanashi Prefecture. From the perspective of wineries, the recent rise in popularity of wines produced from the Koshu grape (Vitis vinifera var. orientalis) has secured their industrial recovery in the short term. This paper explores these changes, thereby contributing to the literature on the invention of traditions for economic profit and rural revitalization. Conclusions are drawn from archival research, interviews with stakeholders in the table grape and wine industries, and over one and one-half years as a grape farmer in the Kōfu Basin. Rather than significant improvements in educational or technical advancement in growing Koshu for wine or even wine production, the rise in popularity of wines produced from Koshu is argued to be more linked to the cultural re-branding of the grape based on co-produced and glocalized perceptions of simulacra in which the historical and local consumption of Koshu wine is equated with Japanese cuisine and culture. By connecting Koshu with Japanese identity and “Japaneseness,” branded wines now provide new opportunities for conspicuous consumption and “connoisseurship” for consumers.


山梨県甲府盆地の食用ブドウとワインの生産業界は、この十年で、大きく変化した。 ワイナリーにとっては、近年の甲州ブドウ(Vitis vinifera var. orientalis) 産ワインの知名度の高まりは、短期間での業界の回復を確かなものにした。本稿はこれらの変化を分析し、 経済的利益と農村活性化につながる伝統創造に関する研究への寄与を目指すものである。文献研究、 食用ブドウおよびワイン産業の関係者へのインタビュー、および一年半余にわたる甲府盆地でのブドウ農 家としての体験に基づいて、結論を導く。甲州ワインの知名度向上が、地元におけるワインやワインの生 産の教育や技術進歩の大幅な改善よりも、甲州ワインの歴史的、地元消費を日本料理文化と同一視する、 共生成、グローカル化されたシュミラクラ現象に基づくブドウの文化的再ブランディング化に起因している といえる。甲州を日本人のアイデンティティと“日本らしさ”に関連付けてブランド化したワインは、現在、 衒示的消費の新しい可能性とともに、消費者に“鑑識眼をもった愛好”をする機会を提供している。


Published Online: 2014-3-2
Published in Print: 2014-3-1

©2014 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin Boston

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Scroll Up Arrow