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Renewed Enthusiasm for Agriculture among Young People (May 25, 2006)

The covers of the first two volumes of "Moyashi-mon" (Kodansha Ltd.)
Young people these days are taking a new look at agriculture. Students are making efforts to bridge the gap between farmers and consumers and are playing a role in regional revitalization through their involvement in farming. Meanwhile, a manga whose protagonist is a student at an agricultural university is drawing an increasing number of fans. Perhaps prompted by recent concerns over food safety due to such issues as BSE (mad cow disease) and avian influenza, more and more members of the younger generation are taking an interest in agriculture, a field to which they had previously not given much thought.

Students Report on Their Farming Experiences
FM Setagaya, a community radio station in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward, has students from the Tokyo University of Agriculture and the Meiji University School of Agriculture report every week on their farm-related experiences and activities. The topics they cover are broad, ranging from the issue of residual pesticides in vegetables to their own experiences on the farm and even special ingredients for making delicious jam. The underlying concept behind the show is to raise awareness about agriculture while enabling listeners to learn along with the students, who have a perspective close to that of consumers. This show has won devoted listeners among local farmers, shop owners, and even elementary school students.

Meanwhile, some 25 students from Meiji University's School of Commerce take turns minding a fruit and vegetable shop at the Kanda Fureai Market in Tokyo's Chiyoda Ward. The Kanda Fureai Merchants Association, the village of Tsumagoi in Gunma Prefecture, and Meiji University teamed up to establish the shop with the goal of broadening the participation of students in regional revitalization efforts. By selling juicy vegetables, the students say that this is the first time they have had a connection with farming and that their perspective concerning the food they eat has changed.

Students of Tokyo University of Agriculture who appeared on FM Setagaya (83.4 MHz FM SETAGAYA)

University Venture Marks Strong Sales
"Moyashi-mon," a comic series carried in the manga magazine Evening, is about a student at an agricultural university in Tokyo who has the unique ability to see mold with the naked eye. This manga has become quite popular, and the magazine receives fan letters from elementary and middle school students who say that they too want to study agriculture in college.

At the Tokyo University of Agriculture, a start-up company called Mercado Tokyo University of Agriculture has been launched, and it markets over 100 products bearing the university brand name over the Internet and through sales drives. Within its first two weeks, the company sold 30,000 cans of a beverage made using camu camu, a fruit that grows wild in the Amazon River basin in Peru. Sales are reportedly continuing to go well.

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Copyright (c) 2006 Web Japan. Edited by Japan Echo Inc. based on domestic Japanese news sources. Articles presented here are offered for reference purposes and do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Japanese Government.

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