東北日本における水稲主力品種の交替 Changes in the Leading Varieties of Non-Glutinous Rice in Northeast Japan, 1970-1995
1970年代以降における米過剰と流通の自由化がすすむ中で, 米に対する消費者の要求は量の確保から質の向上に変わり,「うまい米指向」の時代に移った。本論では寒冷地に成立した東北日本 (北海道, 東北) の稲作が, 新しい時代環境にいかに対応しているかを見きわめ, 今後の可能性を探る一助として, 最近4半世紀間 (1970-95年) の水稲 (ウルチ) 品種の変遷について詳細な資料整理を試みた。その結果, 良食味米生産をめざした品種再編成が東北日本の南部で先行し, その後徐々に中部から北部へ進展してきたことを確認した。1990年代前半に至って, 東北に加え北海道の道央付近にまで, 良食味品種の栽培が一般的に認められるようになった。こうした新しい傾向が東北の良食味品種であったササニシキではなく, 全国的に良食味品種の筆頭とされるコシヒカリとの交配を通して実現してきたこと, および稲作の耐冷性強化にも大きな効果を発揮しつつ展開していることが地理学的に注目される。東北日本の稲作の将来に対して, 少なくとも品種的には大きな可能性が約束されつつあるといえよう。
For the first time in the long history of rice farming in Japan, totally new conditions have arisen. Increasing the production of rice has been restricted to prevent overproduction since 1970, while consumer demands for the deregulation of government policy and calls for excellent quality rice have increased. The purpose of this paper is to outline the reorganizing process of non-glutinous rice varieties in the past quarter century (1970-1995) in the Northeast Japan under the new conditions mentioned above and to consider the geographical meaning of this change.<br>We can recognize three periods in which the acreage of dominant varieties was very changeable: the first period in the early 1970s, the second period in the late 1970s to early 1980s, and the third period in the late 1980s to early 1990s. The former two periods were basically characterized as periods of trial and error. Although excellent varieties of high quality rice diffused in part, attention was focused high yield varieties using mechanized farming. The third period is characterized by new excellent rice varieties drastically replacing the old except in cold, marginal rice regions in Hokkaido and mountainous Tohoku.<br>Geographically, we can point out two important things. Firstly the transformation from high-yield rice culture to excellent quality rice for food developed early in southern Tohoku. After that, it gradually diffused to the northern Tohoku and central Hokkaido districts. This is compared to the process of the diffusion of rice as a staple in cold weather regions in the past. Viewed from a regional standpoint, there are relatively many kinds of excellent varieties in Tohoku and a few in the Hokkaido district. This difference occurred because of cold weather conditions.<br>Secondly, the development of the new varieties mentioned above is very important —in particular "<i>Kirara 397</i>" in Hokkaido, "<i>Akitakomachi</i>" and "<i>Hitomebore</i>" in Tohoku— because they did not depend on "<i>Sasanishiki</i>" originating in Miyagi prefecture but were based on "<i>Koshihikari</i>" which is ranked as the most excellent quality (the highest-priced) variety in Japan today. In addition, these new varieties have not only an excellent taste for consumers but a welcome resistance to cool-summer damage.<br>In conclusion, Northeast Japan's rice farming generally will be sustained in the future, at least for the level of rice varieties, although there are still parts of the region that can not adopt new varieties.
- 季刊地理学 = Quarterly journal of geography
季刊地理学 = Quarterly journal of geography 51(3), 161-178, 1999-09-01
The Tohoku Geographical Association