Keanu Reeves Explores the 'Nature and Spirit of Japan' in Whisky Docuseries for The House of Suntory
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This year marks the 100th anniversary of Suntory Whisky. In honor of this milestone, The House of Suntory announces “The Nature and Spirit of Japan,” a docu-series starring Keanu Reeves. The series consists of four episodes: Water, Beauty, Transform and Resonance, as it explores Japanese whisky culture inspired by harmony with nature (Wa), elevated by Japanese craftsmanship (Monozukuri), and enjoyed as an authentic Japanese cultural experience (Omotenashi). Striking a balance between education and entertainment, the series fosters a deeper exploration of the House of Suntory and Japanese culture overall.
Directed by Roman Coppola and edited by Chad Sipkin, the series views creation through a lens of subtraction rather than addition and is rooted in craftsmanship. Reeves ventures to Suntory’s Yamazaki Distillery and upscale Japanese bars while learning what goes into making the acclaimed Japanese whisky. The series follows other Japanese artists using similar elements to the craftsmen of Suntory. Noh, Kabuki, and Kutaniware artists are all showcased in how they create masterpieces using a similar philosophy to The House of Suntory that is uniquely Japanese; they use inspiration from nature and its cycles, and attune themselves to the materials in use to inform their experience.
“Keanu was a great fit as he’s passionately interested in Japanese whisky", said Coppola. "Because he wasn’t just a paid spokesperson but someone who genuinely loves Suntory whisky, his curiosity was real, and that was evident throughout our collaboration. We got to explore it through his eyes, and he was very trusting and very eager to learn about everything. With any documentary, you always have to have a certain faith in discovering something worthwhile along the journey, and through his commitment and open-mindedness to the project I think we did, so I'm grateful to him. He was an ideal collaborator." The hand-held camerawork by DP Toshi Azawa is naturalistic in style with elegant imagery throughout and complemented by the editing work from Consulate’s Chad Sipkin to emulate the sense of flow in artistry from the film series’ subjects. Focusing on the art and artist from creation, refinement, intuiting and enjoyment is the perfect way to honor The House of Suntory’s 100 years of craftsmanship.
“On any Roman assignment, before a stitch is organized, we embrace the unknown and start a thought-filled, sometimes funny, always dense preamble," adds Sipkin. "In this case, it was about water,nature, the senses, and the influence of legacy Japanese artisans on whisky making. I’d say that the most exciting part of this project was the idea that we were to make a film that had a visceral feel to it that, in a way, was an emulation of the process of making the spirit itself.”
As the Founding House of Japanese Whiskey, The House of Suntory celebrates its 100th anniversary as not only a significant milestone for Suntory, but also for Japanese spirits culture and the country of Japan itself.
Watch the full series on Youtube here.