Manga : Encouraging People to Save Japan’s Dwindling Agriculture

Japan only has 13% of its total land area arable and simultaneously, while having the highest degree of industrialization in the entire Asian region;  making crop production a critical concern. Some crops such as rice, are grown in steep lands that have been terraced to make mountainside cultivation and irrigation possible. Japanese economic experts have already warned that if everything continues without proper reform, the country’s agriculture will fall.

There a lot of problems beleaguering  this country’s agricultural system, to which availability of land is only one among many. Others include its ineffective agricultural research systems, the country’s small sized individual farms, and the aging population of farmers. These aforementioned farming problems are also aggravated by the country’s existing political changes and economic problems that make reforms very hard and yet still vital.

Almost all of Japan’s population can be found on 30% of the island’s land area, while the scarce resources for agriculture is split between residential, commercial, industrial, and agricultural land users. The condition is problematic, since Japan has more than ⅔ of their land area being mountainous. .

Another major hurdle that Japan has yet to solve concerning agriculture is the aging population of farmers; getting older and older as more than half of are aged 60 and above. Human productivity has also been declining due to the fact maintaining Japan’s agriculture is involves vigorous labor.

Usually, work forces in farms are provided by family members however, last year there was only 1,600 young individuals that worked as a full-time farmer on the country’s 3.7 million farms. Nowadays, the younger generations prefer to live in cities and enter jobs that are profitable and are less physically demanding.

Manga Books with Agricultural Themes

Masayuki Ishikawa’s manga “Moyashimon”  reminds his audience that agriculture is a way of spreading culture. Without it, there would be no life.

The manga takes place in a fictional college called Tokyo Agriculture College in in following the adventures of Tadayasu Sawaki as a first-year agriculture student. Sawaki has a talent for communicating with microorganisms floating in the air and for recognizing them. He still hasn’t realized that ihs peculiar talent will be very helpful in his studies particularly when it concerns fermentation.

Studying under Professor Keizou Itsuki, consist of a combination of both food science and agricultural history. Exotic delicacies are featured every chapter including hongeohoe which is a Korean fermented skate and kiviak, which is a body of a seal buried underground with a fermented bird inside. What makes both the anime and manga fun and interesting at the same time is that the microorganisms are adorably illustrated.

Another manga that features agriculture is Silver Spoon, which is an award-winning publication that features farm animals in their every cover. The setting is in a fictional public school called Yezo Agricultural High School in Hokkaido that shows the daily lives of characters with dissimilar circumstances.

The protagonist Yugo Hachiken, is a city boy that does not know anything about agriculture but attends the school as per his father’s wishes. He is surrounded by classmates with career goals that include agriculture and little by little, he appreciates its importance and become happier. In later chapters, he even felt that the simple dishes he helped produce is incomparable to all the extravagant food he ate in his hometown Sapporo.

Variety news website newtoki manga news recently published a list of best apps to use when looking for the best mangas and animes, especially if you are looking for more farm-themed stories.