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Rice Photo Gallery III  

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

God of the field

(Notojima Town, Ishikawa Prefecture)

In the desolate winter, gods of the field receive dedication. Often the origin of the rites is lost in time, but people keep alive the legends and continue to pray. At the climax of the festival at the local shrine, the portable shrine ends up here. The paddy fields of Japan embody generations of prayer and labor. 

Unlike continental fields that compete by sheer size, seeded from the air and liberally splashed with chemicals, Japanese fields are a living part of our culture. This small island is in Nanao Bay off the Noto Peninsula. Mentioned in the ancient Manyoshu collection of poems, it still supports 3,600 people who, half farming, half fishing, are in intimate contact with the sea and land.

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