Rebekah Wilson-Lye


Born in New Zealand, Rebekah made Japan her home in 2005. Her first encounter with sake inspired a life changing journey that evolved into a career as one of Japan’s leading non-Japanese sake professionals.

After years of exploring the country, visiting breweries, meeting artisans, learning about fermentation and the rich culture that surrounds sake, Rebekah realized that she was bearing witness to a huge “sake awakening” driven by innovative producers, and a new generation of brewers.

Aware that English content about sake and modern sake culture was limited, in 2019, Rebekah founded “Ichi for the Michi”—a platform that focused on promoting sake culture to a global audience through TV shows, articles, regional gastronomy tours, sake tasting events and collaborations with leading sake producers & chefs.

In 2013, she teamed up with Japanese pop-artist Takashi Murakami to present “sake culture” education seminars at his cafe, Bar Zingaro. This lead to a collaboration with Murakami and Akita’s NEXT5 brewers to create a limited edition sake, NEXT5 x Bar Zingaro, which was launched at Murakami’s seminal exhibition: The 500 Arhats, in Tokyo, October 2015. 

Rebekah is a SEC certified Advanced Sake Professional, WSET Level 3 Educator, and has been an International Wine Challenge sake division judge since 2016. She regularly appears in Japanese TV shows, magazines and other media. She is also one of the three main subjects of the documentary movie “Kampai: Sake Sisters”, which was released internationally in 2019.

Rebekah joined Japan Craft Sake Company in 2016. As head of international PR & marketing her diverse job portfolio includes: organizing Japan’s largest sake culture event, CRAFT SAKE WEEK; sake consultancy for corporations, 5-star hotels and the world’s leading restaurants; sake education; and developing a traceable, -5ºC sake export system for the global market.