The works of Hokusai and others, admired for more than a century, lend a touch of class to your appreciation of a cold one.
One of the most direct points of contact you can have with a culture comes in the form of enjoying its representative food and drink. In the case of Japan, you could choose to sip a cup of green tea or glass of sake, but in the summer months, there’s nothing quite like a crisp, cold beer from one of Japan’s domestic brewers.
This year, while enjoying a bit of liquid culture, you’ll also be able to appreciate historical pieces of Japanese artwork as well, thanks to a collaboration between the Tokyo National Museum and Asahi, Ebisu, and Suntory, three of the country’s most popular beer makers.
During the promotion, special cans of Asahi Dry Premium will be decorated with the world-famous portrait of kabuki actor Otani Oniji III, a woodblock print created by master ukiyo-e artist Toshusai Sharaku in the late 18th century.
If you prefer the flavor of the all-malt Yebisu Beer (Sapporo Breweries’ premium brand), your cans will instead bear The Sea Off Satta in Suruga Province, a print from Utagawa Hiroshige’s 1858 series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, depicting the coastline of present-day Shizuoka Prefecture.
And finally, appearing on cans of Suntory’s The Premium Malts is Morning Glories and Tree Frog from Katsushika Hokusai, the ukiyo-e art form’s most celebrated figure.
You may have noticed that all three types of beer are higher-end brews than their companies’ standard offerings. That’s because these gorgeous cans are being offered for purchase as ochugen, a midsummer gift that people in Japan give to family members, business associates, and other acquaintances to whom they feel indebted for their kindness. There’s nothing stopping you, though, from ordering a case for your personal use, as a way to thank yourself for all the hard work you’ve done so far this year.