In Japan, and probably in many other parts of the world, it is not a very common sight to see young women farmers working in the fields. Japanese agriculture is a male-dominated industry, but more than this, since the extraordinary development of high-tech sectors farming has become unpopular among young generations.
Wishing to save Japanese farms, 32-year-old Nahoko Takahashi decided to found in 2009 the Yamagata Girls Farm where only young graduate girls are employed. As a child, Nahoko Takahashi has learned the secrets of agricultural work alongside her father. Back in her hometown after graduation, the young girl decided to use her passion to change in good the Japanese agricultural situation. Her passion gathered other six women aged between 21 and 32 years, all with studies in agronomy.
Yamagata Girls Farm can be found in Yamagata Prefecture, in the Tohoku region of Honshu Island (400 km west of Tokyo).
Just like other farmers, the girls rise before dawn on humid summer days to beat the midday heat and start working on their fields where they grow watermelon, spinach, taro and five kinds of rice. Sometimes they can reach 14-hour of work on a day, but all of them respect three funny rules: to wear some make-up, to wear functional but cute farm wear, and to behave like well-bred young women. Now, this is what can be called changing the image of agriculture in Japan.
Besides taking care of their look, the girls respect other more serious rules like never skip a meal and always eat lunch together.
The enthusiasm of these hard working and in the same time very feminine women attracts college girls from around Japan to seek employment at the Yamagata Girls Farm. But only those that treat farming as a profession are hired.
Yamagata Girls Farm is an affiliate of Kunitachi Farm Co, a Tokyo-based agricultural company dedicated to launching and subsidizing non-traditional farms. This collaboration assures a distribution network for the farm’s produce.
Yamagata Girls Farm makes agriculture sounds effortless and really attractive. As many cultures are overwhelmed by technology, these young and cute farmers are an inspiration not only for Japanese young people, but also for young people from other part of the world.
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