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Rice Photo Gallery III  

Kazuko Tomiyama's 'Rice in Japan' Calendar (2004)

Steep-gabled houses in Shirakawa hamlet

(Shirakawa Village, Gifu Prefecture)

Steeply angled like hands in prayer, roofs here express coexistence, both with heavy snow and of people tied to each other. Just as sheaves of rice are tightly bound by straw, under these roofs, through thatching and rethatching, and other shared tasks in the cooperative action of daily life, the hearts and minds of interlinked lives have drawn strength through generations. In this remote place, people evolved a culture special to themselves.

These tightly bound ears of rice hanging under the eaves were blessed as an offering in the autumn Doburoku Festival. Each year, the arashine sheaf of new rice is hung at a different house. After being offered to the gods who graced the festival, the rice grains are carried off by sparrows.

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