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Staff / From behind the scene of Echigo-Tsumari

Expressing farming in Matsudai

27 December 2020

Art that impressed me and farming as a part of lifestyle

The very first ETAT was held in 2000.
I was a primary school student then and I still remember I was overwhelmed by artworks I had never seen before in this place called Matsudai. I began to be interested in “expressing” which had nothing to do with me until then. It must be some connections that I became “a farmer” in Matsudai in June 2000, twenty years since that time. You may wonder why I engage with farming in this place? I will share my story with you.

I am originally from Kashiwazaki-city in Niigata. My grandfather from my mother’s side is a farmer himself in Sado island and I grew up close to farming, the grand nature of Niigata and delicious rice. While I didn’t pursue to be a farmer immidiately after finishing school, I later chose to work in farming which became a part of my life.

However, I started to question about “working part-time on farming”. What I regard as the joys of farming are 1., to “make something delicious” and then 2., “enjoy huge harvest of deliciouso things”. Achieving these would already give us great satisfaction as a job but I realised that one would feel most content when you can engage with customers directly on the firm you are in charge of. I then started to explore how I could express the farming I am passionate about and how I could communicate such feeling directly to people. I want to pass on skills and techniques that have been developed by the ancestors in order for them to survive as well as joys of growing living creatures to as many people as possible. However, I didn’t have any clue to how to.

It was then I found that staff members were wanted at Matsudai Tanada Bank. I would be able to do farming in the place, the home of ETAT by which I was strongly inspired! I would be able to promote farming to many people through ETAT!

I do remember I was so excited.

Matsudai Tanada Bank organises a few events throughout the year for owners to participate in farming activities and meeting with locals and other owners. I am so pleased that I could share and pass on the pleasure of farming leading up to harvest as well as the joy of harvest to many people through these events. I am also hopeful that small children will be able to learn the importance of food and pleasure of eating as well as wonders and surprises I felt when I was their age.

A snapshot of harvesting (The person on the left end is the author)

"Expressing" farming without manual

While farming is off-season during winter, farmers have things to prepare for spring.

This region employs “Tensuiden” cultivation which uses rain water and snow-melt water so water is precious here. What is crucial to capture water is called “Akishirokaki”. Shirokaki – ploughing and irrigating the fields is usually done jsut before planting rice plant in spring. However, by doing it in autumn, we can fill the cracks in the field with mud which could form the rice field without leak. In order to deliver delicious rice again next year, farmers start preparation for spring soon after harvesting including ploughing the field and fixing farming equipments.


There is no manual for farming. Individual farmers and wisdoms of the ancestors make distinctively unique fields and produces.

I will be pleased if you enjoy artworks by artist during ETAT as well as our farming with style during your visit.

Staff member of Matsudai Tanada Bank
Ishizuka Kota

With fellow staff members of Matsudai Tanada Bank (4th person from the left)

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