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Rice Photo Gallery III  

Kazuko Tomiyama's 'Rice in Japan' Calendar (2002)

Water channel

(Omi Hachiman City, Shiga Prefecture)

As the local brooks continue to disappear throughout Japan, waterside scenes like this are precious indeed. It is important to let parents and young children know that, until very recently, healthy streams flowed everywhere through out Japan. If they don't know this, how can they understand Japanese history or the ancient poems of the Manyoshu? Since ancient times, rice has meant prosperity in this area along the eastern shore of Lake Biwa. 

Water channels were used for agriculture, fishing, and transport. Recently, they were even used to cultivate fresh-water pearls. Now agriculture is pinched by crop reductions; high quality Japanese reed blinds are squeezed by cheap imports; fisheries are threatened by foreign black bass introduced for sport.

The prospects are not good. We must do what we can to help while hoping that the people who work to keep this scene alive will go on making the effort.

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