In 1918, a young Japanese man with an ambition to make genuine whisky went alone to Scotland to unveil the secret of whisky making. He is Masataka Taketsuru, the founder of Nikka Whisky. Given the chance to go to Scotland, Masataka became the first Japanese ever to master how to make whisky. He enrolled at the University of Glasgow, took chemistry courses and then apprenticed at three Scotch distilleries.
In 1920 Masataka returned to Japan with his Scottish wife Jessie Roberta (Rita). Being the only Japanese who knew how to produce whisky at that time, Masataka was hired by Kotobukiya in 1923 to direct building the Yamazaki Distillery. There he led the project and devoted himself to producing Japan’s first genuine whisky.After his ten year contract with Kotobukiya, Masataka decided to become independent to make his own ideal whisky. In 1936 the first pot still designed by Masataka and made in Japan was installed and started distillation. Finally in 1940 the first whisky from Nikka was launched. The brand name of this whisky was “NIKKA WHISKY”, short for "Nippon Kaju", which later became the name of the company itself.