The first distillery to be built in Japan was the Yamazaki Distillery in 1923 which means that Japan is now considered to be one of the mature whisky producing nations. The distillery was established by Masataka Taketsuru, an employee of saki producers Shettsu Shuzo who had sent him to Scotland learn how to build a distillery and more importantly how to distill whisky. His employers never built their planned distillery but Taketsuru left them to build the Yamazaki facility with his partner Shinjiro Torii. Torii later established the Great Japan Juice Company - which became Nikka - while Taketsuru later built the Yoichi Distillery.
Japanese whisky now regularly beats Scotch whisky in blind tasting competitions and has a growing and devoted following for the excellent blended and single malt whiskies it produces.