2019 Volume 128 Issue 2 Pages Cover02_01-Cover02_02
This image shows a harvest scene in a Japanese mountain village called Tsumagoi, which is located in Gunma prefecture. The village boasts the highest production volume of cabbage in Japan. Benefiting from a cool climate in summer and improved accessibility to the Tokyo metropolitan area, Tsumagoi village developed as a supply point for cabbage delivered to urban markets after World War II. The Japanese government, as well as Gunma prefecture, increased arable land by reclaiming national forests. Today, the average size of a farm in Tsumagoi village is 4 ha; however, there are large-scale farms that reach 16 ha. Farmland expanded into the highlands and currently extends to elevated areas from 900 m to 1,400 m above sea level. The cabbage harvest season is July to October. In recent years, the harvest has often been delayed due to the effects of global warming. Cabbage cultivation is becoming increasingly mechanized; however, manpower is necessary for harvesting. It is difficult to secure seasonal labor for harvests due to the structure of Japan's labor market. Therefore, many farmers are increasingly dependent on foreign labor.
(Photograph & Explanation: Toshiaki NISHINO; August 22, 2015)