Japanese Whisky has a seemingly cult-like following and has exploded in popularity over the past two decades, though it has a history dating back much further than most would imagine. It's not surprising that comparisons are often made to Scotch Whisky, as one of the two founding fathers of the Japanese Whisky industry, Masataka Taketsuru, spent time learning and studying whisky-making in Scotland with the intention of bringing this insight back to the islands of Japan. Along with the industry's other founding father, Shinjiro Torii, they established the first distillery in Japan in 1923, Yamakazi, just outside Kyoto (Torii the founder, Taketsuru the distillery manager). Taketsuru left nine years later for Hokkaido, where he built Yoichi distillery. Their brands, Torii's Suntory and Taketsuru's Nikka, remain the two biggest names in Japanese Whisky today. Though Scotch whisky-making processes provided the foundation and basis for the Japanese Whisky industry, there's no overlooking the innovative and regional influence on Whiskys from Japan.