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Sake, ninja and Kyoto hot topics at Japanese colleges

Courses designed to pique interest in local industries and revive communities

TOKYO/KYOTO/NIIGATA, Japan -- When Niigata University launched a sakeology course last year, some 800 students signed up, four times the initial quota. The first class was so popular that many students had to take notes while standing up.

Now in its second year, the sake course has attracted a similar number of students. It is designed to help students acquire a comprehensive knowledge of sake making, including legal, commercial and agricultural aspects.

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