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When in the beginning of Kimi no na wa, Yotsuha asks Mitsuha to sell the sake they made in the festival and advertise it as Shrine Maiden sake and use the money to go to Tokyo, Mitsuha refuses saying that it breaks the Liquor Tax Law (or that's what the subtitles said).

What exactly is the Liquor Tax Law and how are they breaking it?

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The specific law that Mitsuha mentions is called the 酒税法【しゅぜいほう】(shuzeihou) in Japanese. The Ministry of Justice does not presently have a translated version of this law (possibly because they haven't made translations as far back as 1953), but if it did, it would be located here.

In an article (in Japanese) about this specific scene, a lawyer (NISHIGUCHI Ryuuji) is asked about the legality of selling kuchikamizake. I have translated a part of the article:

According to Mr. Nishiguchi:

"Beverages with an alcohol content of more than 1% ABV are deemed 'alcoholic'.

"To produce alcoholic beverages, one must obtain a license from the director of the tax office within whose jurisdiction the production site falls. Producing alcoholic beverages without a license is a violation of the Liquor Tax Act.

"Article 54, Paragraph 1 of the Liquor Tax Act states: 'any person who produces an alcoholic beverage, yeast starter, or fermenting mash is subject to imprisonment with required labor for not more than 10 years, or a fine of not more than 1,000,000 yen'.

"If one were to produce kuchikamizake with an ethanol content of greater than 1%, it is possible that one would be subject to criminal penalties."

It appears that you can produce anything with an alcohol content of 1% or less without running afoul of the Liquor Tax Law. But some people produce umeshu [plum wine] in their homes. Wouldn't they be deemed to have produced an alcoholic beverage?

"There are exceptions.

"If you make homemade umeshu by adding ume [Japanese plum] to shochu, you are indeed deemed to have 'commingled' the alcoholic beverage with other substances and have 'produced' a new alcoholic beverage.

"However, consumers who prepare these beverages for their own personal consumption are deemed not to have 'produced' the beverage for the purposes of the Liquor Tax Law (Article 7; Article 43, Paragraph 11).

"That said, the production of kuchikamizake by fermenting rice would not be protected under this exception."

  • It would be worth nothing that the article you linked is specifically talking about the legality of the Shrine Maiden sake (kuchikamizake) made in Kimi no na wa. – Ross Ridge Jun 30 '17 at 17:34
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I believe the Liquor Tax Law is more about importations so it may be a bit of topic or maybe a subtitle weakness. However, in Japan and also in many other countries, it is strictly prohibited to make and sell alcohols that exceed a certain degree. Furthermore, the alcohol market is anyway strongly kept into government control. Then, it is possible their homemade sake's alcohol degree exceed the limit fixed by the law.

Here you will find a decree about the japanese Liquor Tax Law.

Hope that helped.

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Bear in mind that Mitsuha is a 17-year-old from a small, rural village, who has never held a job, unless you count being a miko. Her life has been quite sheltered, and I very much doubt that she is conversant with the details of the Liquor Tax Law.

She is clearly very embarrassed by Yotsuha’s suggestion, and I think she probably just said that to get Yotsuha to shut up about it. And because it’s funny, of course.

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