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The taste and quality expert

90% natural, 10% human
Basing my work on the pure waters and rich nature of terraced rice fields,
I’m going to take quality to the max and bring a lot of smiles to a lot of faces!

The taste and quality expert

90% natural, 10% human
Basing my work on the pure waters and rich nature of terraced rice fields,
I’m going to take quality to the max and bring a lot of smiles to a lot of faces!

The city or the country? When I had to make the choice, I wanted to bring them both together through farming.

I was born and raised a local. After training at a hairdressing school in Osaka, I got work as a hairdresser in Tokyo. My on-the-job experience as an assistant hairstylist gave me good training and a good name. I got to take care of some famous people, for example. I was doing fine in the big city. My family were farmers, and I was getting away from all that. But every time I went home, I could see how my family was getting old, and I could feel how I was changing inside as well. I was getting ahead at work in Tokyo, so should I keep on living there? Or should I go back to the country and take over the family business? When I had to make the choice, I suddenly thought to myself—why can’t I be a farmer in the country, and keep in touch with all the city friends I’ve made at the same time? It was the spring of my 28th year when my mountain-man DNA woke me up to the possibilities…

The shape of the future in a photo from a century ago

Kajii’s family home is in a beautiful spot by the mountains in the town of Uwa, where the terraced rice fields spread down the hillsides. The farm’s office has a black-and-white photograph of the scene from a hundred years ago. You can see the lives of the farmers from a century in the past, as they do their work heartily among the rice terraces layered out like a cascade of fans. This is an image that depicts Kajii’s future also. As he grows rice in an upriver district, he feels that it’s his responsibility to minimize his impact on the areas downstream as much as he can. He feels that he has a duty to grow his rice as naturally as possible, without relying on chemicals. And to leave this beautiful landscape as it is. Even though there are fewer and fewer youngsters around, there are still people willing to take over the job of farming here, and make a go of it. Kajii is Tariki’s youngest member, and he’s the one who handles their youth outreach. As a young man himself, Kajii is a role model and idol for other young farmers all across Ehime who are taking on important posts in farmers’ associations and other groups in the prefecture.

カジー写真

You want a way of life that’s full of interesting experiences? Try farming!

There are a lot of senior farmers who have been at work here for a very long time. Compared to them, the Tariki guys are just getting started. They want to create and add new value to the base that’s already here thanks to the farmers who’ve come before them. A rice field isn’t only a place for growing food, Kajii thinks—it should also be a place for having fun, learning, and enjoying yourself. A way for people to get together. The tourism potential is also important, as are the possibilities for developing human resources. Taken all together, he wants to forward the Tariki project top-down and bottom-up at the same time, with the rice field as a place for people to polish their skills not only in growing rice but also in cultivation and processing techniques for agriculture as a whole, along with communication skills. He wants to link up with existing farmers’ associations and other organizations, and cooperate with them. He wants to make Tariki Hongan a force that has the trust of the area’s veteran farmers and the people of the locality. Kajii is also growing strawberries, and he take the finished product in a food truck to sell at events around the place. For Kajii, farming is not so much job as a way of life that’s full of interesting experiences. That’s what he tells the Tariki Junior members—just by the way he walks.

カジー写真

The taste and quality expert Masashi Kajiwara

Born: 1980, Uwa-cho, Seiyo City, Ehime Prefecture

  • Area farmed: 25 hectares (rice, wheat, soya beans, strawberries)
  • Favorite slogan: “The dream you just have won’t come true. The dream you chase will.”
  • Hobby: Rod fishing
  • Good at: Billiards and cooking
  • Favorite type of crush: Someone who’s full of surprises once you get to know them