Yoshikazu Kawaguchi’s Natural Farming Method   
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Today’s Planet Earth: Our Loving Home will be presented in Japanese, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Thai and Spanish.

Hallo, splendid viewers, and welcome to Planet Earth: Our Loving Home. Today we will explore a wonderful method of natural farming from Japan. Mr. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi has been practicing what he calls the “Natural Farming” method in Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture, Japan for 30 years.

This method is gentle to both the environment and our bodies, because it complements nature well. He developed this eco-friendly style of agriculture after falling ill from the chemical fertilizers he routinely applied to his crops. Mr. Kawaguchi also started the Akame Natural Farming School 19 years ago for those who wished to be trained in Natural Farming. Students can learn the system through actual practice in rice fields.

The Natural Farming method uses no fertilizers or chemicals, very little water and adheres to the philosophy that crops should be allowed to grow freely and thus human intervention is required only when absolutely necessary. Let us now meet the wise Mr. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi.

To begin Mr. Kawaguchi, would you please explain the Natural Farming method that you have been practicing?

Well, the basic point of this specific practice is to never plow the fields. It is not necessary to plow at all.

Also, we don't need fertilizers at all. We don't need to bring in anything from other places. And weeds and insects are not enemies.

Moreover, the most important principle is that we grow crops according to the environment. In a warm place or climate, we grow plants that like warm temperatures, while in a cold place we grow plants that like the cold climate. In short, we grow according to the climate or the characteristics of the particular land.

Then, there is a property to each plant, so we should follow and accept it. We should leave the life of that particular plant alone.

We leave it as untouched as possible, but we do lend our hand a little as needed so that the particular crops grow well. It is the way of natural cultivation.

I see. Then, you mean that crops can grow healthy and vigorously without any fertilizer and pesticides, right?

Yes, exactly. Crops would grow very vigorously without those things.

In agriculture today it is far from what the proper method of agriculture should be. It neglects the natural world, and is contrary to the law of nature, and puts a heavy load on our environment.

Therefore, this cultivation method never consumes the limited resources of the Earth, or contaminates water, Mother Earth, or the air, all of which are invaluable to our environment. This is how this method is.

I see. I understand there are both “useful” and “harmful” bugs for agriculture. But according to you, there is no difference between these, and even so-called “harmful” bugs exist because they should. Am I right?

Well, the entire balance would be upset if we humans for some reason define the different species as enemies or harmful insects according to our convenience and terminate them. It is best for them to be left alone in their place.

If we follow agriculture that goes along with the natural way, then a rice insect doesn’t turn out to be harmful.

By the way, there is in fact an occasion when rice is actually damaged by these rice insects. Since the number of rice insects has increased tremendously, rice has been totally eaten up. This is not because it is a harmful insect, but we have made a mistake in the cultivation method. We cultivate and apply large quantities of fertilizers; a lot of rice insects proliferate and the crops are damaged.

But regardless of the differences between harmful and useful insects, all life is left alone, and thus the entire balance is maintained.

The Natural Farming method does not require any special technique. When we can find something that nature needs, we simply give a helping hand. Then we can keep on receiving the blessings from nature.

You mean that animals, plants, and humans should live together as one through interdependence? Is that right?

It is how this natural world is made, so existing through co-reliance is the key. Many different kinds and species of life are now living or have lived. And also there are the to-be-born. So, birth and death are cycling, and this is what the world of life is like.

Life both in the future and in the past live together and carry on within the life existing here and now. This is how it works. We have to realize this. For instance, rice cannot live alone in a rice field. And it is the same that humans cannot exist alone on Earth.

Thus, many lives, many kinds of flora and fauna exist in a rice field according to its season. It is best for us to let nature take care of things. And it is not ideal if anything is taken away for humans’ convenience because they are all one. But they are individual and different at the same time. To understand this point is important.

When we return, Mr. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi will further introduce us to the Natural Farming method. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Welcome back to Planet Earth: Our Loving Home where we are speaking with Mr. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi from Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture, Japan about the Natural Farming method. He now further discusses the issue of weeds that appear when growing rice. In contrast to those who use conventional farming techniques, Mr. Kawaguchi has quite a different perspective as to how weeds affect rice crops.

By the way, we consider weeds to be enemies, because we see our precious rice crops being overtaken by weeds beneath our feet. Rice crops are certainly overtaken by weeds. They grow stronger and more vigorously than rice crops.

When we compare one rice plant with a weed, a weed is stronger, because it is a summer grass. Some weeds grow in a group and occupy a space to grow. If such is the case, rice crops are certainly overtaken by those weeds.

It is common among all plant life. Plants will be overtaken by weeds when they are small and young. And in such cases, farmers will take good care of young rice crops. Just as mothers and fathers will take good care of their children. Similarly, farmers will give young crops a helping hand to a certain extent until they can grow independently.

Farmers will remove weeds from below the rice seedlings, but only weeds growing in that area. You should not remove all the weeds in the rice field. Removing weeds only in that area will protect rice seedlings and support them so that they will be not overtaken by the weeds.

The period of planting rice seedlings is equivalent to childhood for humans. So rice seedlings will be planted in their youth, but we plant rice seedlings in a rice field. And it takes about a month for the rice seedlings to grow into young adulthood.

If summer grasses grow in this period, rice crops will be overtaken after all. In such a case, farmers will cut the weeds and line the rice field with the cut weeds. Then the rice crops will quickly grow into young adulthood after a month. Their life-span is half a year, so their growth is quick. They quickly build their bodies.

Even after they have built their bodies, there are weeds below. Various weeds are below. Various weeds allow various small insects to live. When various small insects exist there, they will help make plants thrive. So they will make rice crops thrive. This is the cycle of life.

According to Mr. Kawaguchi, nature alone provides all the nutrients needed by the rice crops, and weeds actually play an integral role in enriching the soil for all forms of life.

We tend to think that weeds may absorb the nutrients that are given for the rice crops, and thus crop yields may be less. However, it is not true in the natural world. When rice is growing and various weeds are growing within its area, the soil becomes rich. We can notice this when we look at things from a little wider perspective.

All life breathes, and collects what is necessary from the air to construct the body. Rice also constructs its body. And a certain grass constructs its body. And grass B also constructs its body for its own life. All plants photosynthesize utilizing solar energy. They grow themselves and let the lives transform into new plants after a half year, so the soil may become fertile. This is how the natural world works.

In the uncultivated rice field, bodies of once-living organisms pile up on and on every half year, constructing layers of dead organisms. It is same with natural forests and mountains. The layers of dead organisms become the base to nurture the lives of the next generation. But once we cultivate the soil, this will not happen.

If we don’t cultivate and leave it to nature, the soil becomes richer and richer year after year, and it becomes the foundation to nurture the lives of future generations.

How does the crop output using the Natural Farming method compare with conventional farming techniques?

Roughly speaking, crop yields harvested under the Natural Farming method are neither more nor less productive.

By the way, “tan” is an area used to measure rice fields. When I was using chemical fertilizers, I got the output of about 60 kilograms of brown rice per a tan, which means 600 kilograms or 10 straw bags of rice at the very most and about eight straw bags of rice at the very least. So I used to get between 600 kilograms and about 500 kilograms a year.

When we adopt the Natural Farming method, the output would be about 20 % less or almost equal, according to my estimation. If we fail to take good care of the crops, we could receive a little less than that.

We thank Mr. Kawaguchi for sharing his knowledge of the Natural Farming method. Please be sure to join us next Wednesday for Part 2 of our interview with Mr. Kawaguchi where he will discuss other aspects of the method such as growing crops using a minimal amount of water.

For more details on Yoshikazu Kawaguchi, please visit Iwazumi2000.cool.ne.jp

Thank you for your kind company on today’s edition of Planet Earth: Our Loving Home. Up next is Enlightening Entertainment, following Noteworthy News. May we all treasure the splendid flora and fauna around us.
Today’s Planet Earth: Our Loving Home will be presented in Japanese, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Thai and Spanish.

Hallo, eco-wise viewers and welcome to another edition of Planet Earth: Our Loving Home. Today we will continue with an introduction to the “Natural Farming” method that was created by Japanese farmer Mr. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi of Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture, Japan.

This method is gentle to both the environment and our bodies, because it complements nature well. He developed this eco-friendly style of agriculture after falling ill from the chemical fertilizers he routinely applied to his crops. Under this system crops are to grown with very little human intervention and thus nearly everything is left to nature. The land is not tilled and no fertilizers or pesticides are used. Compared to conventional agricultural, water usage is minimal.

Mr. Kawaguchi also started the Akame Natural Farming School 19 years ago for those who wished to be trained in Natural Farming. Students can learn the system through actual practice in rice fields. Let us now join Mr. Kawaguchi in his fields.

This is the rice field that we haven’t tilled for 30 years. Here we have used no fertilizers or agricultural chemicals, and we have grown mainly rice crops, with oat and wheat grains as secondary crops, all as naturally as possible. Winter grasses, especially meadow grasses, are flourishing now. No crops are growing, but below, the soil is very rich and fertile, and is becoming a good environment for growing.

I would like you to observe what the soil, which we haven’t tilled for 30 years, looks like. You can easily enter here. Nothing grows here now, but please watch your step because there are holes from place to place. This is rice straw that we produced last year. You see, under the summer grasses the decomposing organic life that used to live here has piled up with the passing of every six months. The lower the layer, the more it is decayed. And you can see that the deeper layers have turned into humus already, like soil.

What were you sowing in the seed beds?

I was taking care of rice seed beds. In the case of rice, we nurture seedlings in seed beds for one-third of six months, and then we replant it during the young seedling period. We clear away weeds and prepare the seedling bed so that it is occupied only by rice seeds. Therefore, the power of the soil becomes weak. We never do this when we plant rice seeds in a field full of grass though.

When we scrape other plants away and take other seeds of weeds away from the seedling bed, some holes are made in the seedling bed. Because the power of the soil has become weak we refill them with rice bran that we harvested a year ago. We sprinkle and refill them with the empty rice husks or we refill it with rapeseed meal or wheat bran grown in the field. Wheat bran is called “fusuma.” Or we sprinkle husks of various grains. When those things decay, they nurture the life of rice vibrantly.

Some crops need a lot of this, and some do not need much, and it is different according to the crops.

We dig every four meters to make ditches, and let water drop below when we produce wheat, because wheat dislikes water being near it. When we make rice, an entrance is closed and water is stored. Rice likes dampness. Their characters are just opposite.

So, in order to make two opposite things in a rice field, we first make ditches and make ridges in preparation, and raise the seedlings and plant here in the rice field, and keep sowing and harvesting in repetition.

The characteristic of a rice field is just that. In this rice field, rice is just in the middle of the young seedling period, and is showing growth like this. We let the rice seedling grow here for one-third of the period, or about two months. Then we plant the seedlings in this field. These grasses are at the end of their lives and are about to die. They are still alive though. The rice seedlings are nicely planted there one by one.

In Japan, rice is grown in a flooded rice field and harvested after six months. By experience, Mr. Kawaguchi has found that rice crops actually need much less water during the growing season than is believed by most farmers.

Of course, dampness is necessary. So for the first two months of the six months, there is no water, and only for three months in the following four months the rice is in the water. So for one month in the latter period rice does not need much water.

We all assume that when growing vegetables, we need to give them plenty of water on a daily basis. However according to Mr. Kawaguchi, this is not the case. If there is grass in the field, sufficient moisture will be retained for the vegetables to thrive.

Once we start to water them, vegetables won't grow well without water. However, the ground won't be dry, because there are grasses below. And since we don’t till, the soil won't be dry. Or dry grasses or once-living organisms are piled up below, so the soil won’t be dry.

Therefore, it is not necessary for us to water even after we sow seeds, because it would rain sufficiently and the ground would get damp anyway. So, it is not fundamental to water.

However, when we sow seeds later than usual and we want them to germinate early, or when sunny weather has been continuing for many days, we would give water only once, or before we transplant seedlings, we would give them enough water. We give water according to the weather and how dry the ground is. But basically, there is no need to water. This is much better.

When we return, we will meet some of the students who are learning the Natural Farming method from Mr. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi. Please stay tuned to Supreme Master Television.

Welcome back to Planet Earth: Our Loving Home where we are speaking with Mr. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi from Sakurai City, Nara Prefecture, Japan about the Natural Farming method. Mr. Kawaguchi raises a diverse number of crops in his fields. He now introduces us to some of them.

Around here we mix crops. According to their relationship with the rain, sunlight, temperature and so on some crops are appropriate here and others aren’t.

Here are chrysanthemums and green onions and here are tomatoes. Santo greens or Chinese cabbages are here. Or, these are radishes. These are carrots. A variety of vegetables are planted in a mixed fashion. We call it “konshoku.”

When we plant many kinds of plants in a mixed fashion like this, the ground below will make the crops bring various blessings owing to the condition of the soil and the grasses growing there and damage from continuously planting may disappear. That’s why we plant different crops at the same time. In short, we can plant various crops we want according to the climate without worrying so much.

Mr. Kawaguchi founded the Akame Natural Farming School so that others may learn his farming techniques. The school is free and he has taught more than 5600 students over the past 19 years. We asked him about the typical background of his students.

Let me see, most live in big cities: they were born and brought up in big cities. So, some are office workers doing desk jobs in a very ordinary company, both men and women. But there are more women in number. And some are self-employed. And some are teachers. And unexpectedly many are working in the medical field. And, some are housewives. So, they have various jobs. Maybe they cover almost all the jobs in the world.

Of course, each is here for his or her own reason, but what is the major reason for them to be here?

I think that the fundamental reason is to take good care of their lives. To gain satisfaction in life, and to take good care of this given body which is given for a hundred years or so. To take good care of this physical body and to ensure the safety of food.

Let us now meet some of his splendid students.

What made you come here to the Akame Natural Farming School?

I have been interested in environmental issues, and have decided to learn here in order to practice the best method.

Are you already practicing this method at home?

No, not yet. But I think I will do that in future.

What made you come here and study the Natural Farming?

Basically, because of the same reason Mr. Kawaguchi has changed to the Natural Farming method. I used to engage in agriculture with agricultural chemicals. But I didn’t like it because I didn’t feel well afterwards.

I am very happy when I work with many people with various ideas who are gathering here. I have become very joyful both mentally and physically.

When you come here, you are embraced by very warm-hearted and gentle people. So I look forward to visiting here every month.

How long have you been learning here?

About eight years. I have been renting a little field to practice this method of agriculture.

Really? What is your impression of this school?

While I am working alone or all of us are working together under the blessed environment here in nature, I am very thrilled with excitement. Whenever I come here my heart dances with joy.

We deeply thank Mr. Yoshikazu Kawaguchi for sharing his Natural Farming method with others and for practicing a form of agriculture that respects our environment and all the beings that reside within it. May many more people soon practice this wonderful style of natural farming.

For more details on Yoshikazu Kawaguchi, please visit Iwazumi2000.cool.ne.jp

Thank you for your kind company on today’s edition of Planet Earth: Our Loving Home. Up next is Enlightening Entertainment, following Noteworthy News. May we all be embraced by Divine Love and Light from Heaven.

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