“Omachi”-The Story of Revived Sake Brewing Rice, part1
Omachi rice was found in 1859, and then it has been cultivated. In Meiji era, Omachi was already famous as good sake brewing rice. As the grain being large. However, the stalks normally grew to be 160cm, or sometimes 180 cm tall, which caused lodging of the plants, and they were also vulnerable to pests.
Later, Mr. Yoshiaki Kaga, headman of former Karube Village (currently Akaiwa-City) in Akaiwa County, energetically promoted it to sake breweries all over Japan. Because of his contribution, it became widely used and in the early Showa Period, sake using Omachi exclusively ranked top to 20th at the Annual Japan Sake Awards. Unfortunately, the plants were originally difficult to grow, and moreover the price went down due to changes in the Staple Food Control Law during WWII, the number of rice farmers decreased drastically. The rice fields decreased to 3ha and the existence was about to be forgotten.
In such situation, Tadayoshi Toshimori, the present Representative of Toshimori Shuzo, who comes from Karube Village as well, rediscovered Omachi rice. “In those days, I used to deliver sake to local farmers. I well remember the time, it was one day in November, 1970, around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I found an array of long rice plants hung down in the order of the harvest year. The sight was magnificent. I recognized it was the one called Omachi. I was surprised to see how tall they were.”