- The Plate
As Diets Change, Traditional Japanese Rice Harvest Declines
The air is crisp, the leaves are falling, and the terraces are peaking with full crops of rice plants in picture-perfect patterns waiting to be picked, just as they have been for centuries. It’s harvest season in Japan, but a lot has changed over the years.
The number of rice-producing households in Japan has decreased, and the price of the grain has increased. Industrialized production has become the norm. At the same time, according to “The Rice Demand System in Japan,” by Masahiko Gemma, of Waseda University, “changes in Japanese dietary life have been observed for the past three decades as the economic growth has made the improvement in standard of living possible. Rice consumption per capita has been declining since 1962.”