Born in 1894 into a family of sake producers, Masataka Taketsuru is considered the godfather of Japanese whisky. After training as a chemist, he was hired by the Settsu Shuzo company which sent him to Scotland in 1918 for an apprenticeship. He developed a passion for whisky and decided to devote his life to it. In 1934, he built Yoichi, his first distillery, on the island of Hokkaido. Its growing success enabled him to establish a second in 1969 near Sendai, Miyagikyo. It is from the single malts produced by these two distilleries that the Nikka whisky group produces its entire range of Japanese whiskies.