Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rice Paddy Field 田

Sunset over a crop of recently planted rice - fields flooded to protect the seedlings from insects and the coming rainy season will keep the fields full of water without the need of further irrigation. Rice can also be grown in dry-fields, but Japan has been using irrigated - wet-rice culture from around the Yayoi era (300 BCE to CE 250) and in the twentieth century paddy field agriculture has became the dominant form of growing rice throughout the world. The acidic soil conditions common in Japan, due to volcanic eruptions, have made the paddy field the most productive farming method. The character 田, which originally meant 'field' in general, is used in Japan exclusively to convey the meaning 'rice paddy field'. Rice consumption in Japan has been steadily falling for the past 40 years, as many rice farmers are increasingly elderly - a fact that is readily apparent to any observer driving through the Japanese countryside. The government has subsidized rice production since the 1970's and is protectionist regarding cheaper imported rice.

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