1. The One-Straw Revolution
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  4. Masanobu Fukuoka

Masanobu Fukuoka. The One-Straw. Revolution. An Introduction to Natural Farming. With a Preface by Partap Aggarwal. Edited by Larry Korn. Other India Press. I first learned of Fukuoka's One-Straw Revolution through a book-review in an American magazine, Mother Earth News, about the end of Although short. The One-Straw Revolution is copyrighted and in print. You can find it here on site or here from New York · Review of Books. You may also be interested in .

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The One-Straw Revolution was translated from the Japanese by Chris Pearce, Tsune Kurosawa, and Larry Korn. Originally published as Shizen Noho Warn. ONE STRAW REVOLUTION. Among the great pioneers of organic gardening perhaps the least well known, in this country anyway, is Masanobu. Fukuoka. Click Here to Download: "The One-Straw Revolution is one of the founding.

Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Books by Language. Full text of " The-One-Straw-Revolution " See other formats Soil and Health Library This document is a reproduction of the book or other copyrighted material you requested. It was prepared on Wednesday, 8 August for the exclusive use ofNiklas Wagner, whose email address is wagnem uni-koeln. Any further distribution or reproduction of this copy in any form whatsoever constitutes a violation of copyrights. All rights reserved.

PREFACE Additionally, other faces indicate that it is a world of advocacy and propaganda, a world that is multicultural and diverse and hence prone to misunderstandings, and a deceptive world filled with scams like identify theft.

It is also a world loaded with doublespeak and a results-oriented world looking only at the bottom line. These are all frightening thoughts, which is why we have also continued to include an Application of Ethics exercise at the end of each chapter to help train students to pay increasing attention to this topic in the future since ethical issues seem to be emerging more rapidly with each passing year.

This requires that receivers maintain increasing awareness of ethical problems and prospects. Also included are the new and sometimes interactive propaganda boxes that will help reacquaint both students and instructors with this growing pattern of propaganda mixed with advocacy in the world of the Seven Faces of Persuasion.

We have also continued to insert diversity boxes to remind all of us how our culture is changing with the addition of many new ethnic groups, differing sexual preferences, religions, and so on, and the recognition of new lifestyles and value systems.

And with the increasing growth of media in which the receiver ceases to be a mere passive recipient of messages, we have also included interactive media boxes identified by the logo shown which will help both students and instructors to see these interactive innovations in a new light. In addition, all boxes on any topic involving a Web search are identified by this logo.

Early evidence shows that by having receivers interact with the media via which they receive persuasive advocacy or propaganda actually increases the strength of the messages—be the messages ethical or unethical.

This edition also continues to provide the successful features of earlier editions—updated examples from the worlds of politics, economics, advertising, propaganda, ideology, and the Internet, as well as new reports on recent theoretical developments. Additionally, three critical developments have occurred that I believe will affect the world of persuasion enormously in just the next few years.

These and other new developments and their implications have been woven throughout the 14 chapters. What are these developments? Throughout this edition you will find numerous examples, exercises, and explorations into the implications of our increasingly diverse culture now and in the future.

As mentioned, our world has become astonishingly interactive, especially in terms of new media, and the newly diverse citizens are all able to use these media. The hundreds of new ways we have discovered to interact with one another also make each of us a journalist, editor, opinion expert, and artist; and each of us potentially has a huge audience for our persuasion if we do it well.

So we must learn to be interactively responsible and ethical here as well. At the same time, new forms of interactivity have opened scores of new ways to appeal to us as consumers of persuasion. Again, the book includes examples, recent theoretical developments, and exercises involving the interactive media in our lives and how they have and will continue to change the face of persuasion—especially for receivers or consumers of this essential form of human communication.

These changes are also seen in our culture as it is facing a crisis in ethics. We saw the front edge of this crisis in the many recent corporate scandals and have witnessed an explosion of ethical lapses in all areas of our lives, including religion, politics, government, journalism, business practices, personal relations, the executive branch of government, and even foreign policy like the intentionally misleading information that led to our disastrous war in Iraq.

To address this crisis in ethics, Chapter 2 has been heavily revised and updated, and an Application of Ethics exercise or case study is now featured at the end of each chapter for individual or group exploration. In addition, ethical challenges and questions are raised throughout the text. Use all these features to test your understanding of each chapter, and to help students manage their roles as consumers of persuasion and understand their responsibilities as constant receivers of a myriad of messages.

Johannesen, who revised Chapter 2, and Joseph N.

Scudder, who revised Chapters 3 and 4. Thanks also to the staff at Cengage Learning, beginning with Monica Eckman, executive editor; Larry Goldberg, development editor; Michael Lepera, senior content project manager; the many folks in the permissions, production, and marketing departments; and those colleagues who reviewed this edition and made wonderful suggestions.

They were Richard Berleth, St. And finally, I offer special thanks to the students and teachers who will use and hopefully profit from adopting, reading, and discussing the twelfth edition of Persuasion: Reception and Responsibility. Charles U. It rocks not only our individual worlds but the whole world around us.

We carry it with us everyday to use as either the audience or receivers of persuasive messages or as the authors or sources of them. Persuasion is disseminated not only by mass media like television, radio, and news publications but in more personal media like blogs authored by us or others, direct marketing appeals sent to us in the mail, e-mail, chat groups, and highly targeted appeals that surround us in our interactive media world.

Persuasion both changes that world and represents ways that the same world changes us. Persuasion is about choice. Thus, understanding persuasion better will help us make better choices and is essential to live in our ever-changing world where having to choose among alternatives, trivial and essential, is a constant.

Persuasion can be used for much good and much evil. We live in a period of human reconstruction in the United States and around the world—personally, interactively, locally, and globally. We face a different kind of enemy in the reality of the terrorist or the religious zealot—and theirs is a different kind of influence than we have previously considered very seriously in this country.

Persuasion is also much larger than the United States or even the Western world—today persuasion is global. Perhaps, in the modern world, the more difficult task of societal reconstruction remains the restoration 1 2 PART I of trust in our major institutions.

How can we trust business leaders whose representatives used persuasion to cover up years of corporate deceit that ultimately cost employees their jobs and retirement funds and investors their fortunes?

How do we trust religious figures when we learn of repeated revelations of sexual improprieties by priests, ministers, and others? How do we possibly trust political leaders when they have purposely led us into enormously costly and seemingly endless conflicts in Iraq and elsewhere in the world using falsified evidence, quarantining critical news reporting, obscuring or even hiding both sides of an issue, and using tainted testimony to serve personal goals or beliefs?

Another challenge to our understanding of persuasion involves the introduction and rapid adoption of new, high-impact technologies and interactive ones such as personal computers, the Internet, cell phones, texting, blogging, pod-casting, and the digitization of many older technologies like film and photography, both of which can now be easily distorted even by the average user for persuasive purposes.

And we have the ongoing development of virtual realities of all sorts which allow us to experience, use, and manipulate many things never before possible, thus adding a whole new dimension to the persuasive process—artificial experience acting as the real thing and thus equaling evidence for making important decisions.

Also, easy and instant global communication affects us as never before. Traditional ways of doing business, conducting national and international politics, business and religion, interacting with others, adopting popular culture, all face obsolescence with the globalization of virtually every aspect of human endeavor.

Underlying all of this change, however, is a constant. It is the overwhelming presence and enormous impact of persuasion as the most ubiqui- tous of the many forms of personal influence. In fact, persuasion is now the great common denominator in the arenas of economics, politics, religion, business, and interpersonal relations.

And today, persuasion has unprecedented potential as a tool for affecting our daily lives, as a means to many ends—both good and bad—and as a presence in every moment of our waking lives. The world we face rests on the power of persuasion. We need to approach this profusion of persuasion in our everyday lives with an awareness that, at its core, persuasion is a symbolic act for both persuaders and receivers.

We use symbols—usually words or images—in commercial interactions, interpersonal relations, family life, political endeavors, and international relations. Persuasion basically represents a democratic and humanistic attempt to influence others, instead of enslaving them. We want to convince them to take certain actions like downloading, voting, or cooperating with one another— instead of forcing or coercing them to do so.

For the most part, persuasion uses either logical or emotional means or a combination of both of them instead of force to accomplish desired ends. In my town, a company that slaughtered cattle for shipment to Europe to be used for human consumption, was protested against in many ways and at many times for engaging in cruelty to animals.

Furthermore, the meat would otherwise go to waste, whereas European consumers favored it. As you read this book, we hope that you change in important ways. We live in a world in which persuasive messages of various types continually compete for our attention, our beliefs, and our actions. Ironically, the exciting yet treacherous times in which we live depend heavily on successful persuasion for us as persuadees in our decision making.

We spend far more time receiving persuasion and responding to persuasion than we usually do in sending it. We are predominantly in the role of the receiver, audience, or consumer of persuasive messages, though with the Internet the balance is shifting to sending in some ways.

So the aim of this book and class is to make you a more critical and responsible consumer of persuasion while also alerting you to your role as an author or source of persuasive appeals. In some ways, you are already a critical receiver, but you can improve your reception skills. You need to identify how critical a receiver you are at the outset. How easily are you persuaded? How does persuasion work on you?

What tactics are most effective with you? With others? Which are least effective? How gullible are you? And most importantly what are the ethical dimensions of the persuasion we receive and that which we initiate. Is it ethical to cyber-bully someone by creating a false or pseudo Web site or damaging message about them just because we believe in free speech? Is it ethical for leaders to fabricate evidence to favor some issues simply because they believe their philosophy of government is right?

Is it ethical to lie to save the 3 corporation and the jobs of its employees? Is it ethical to text the answers on an exam to a friend in the class or to photograph the exam with your cell phone camera so it can become part of fraternity test files? Part I investigates these kinds of questions and others as it attempts to establish an ethically focused perspective for the persuasion you receive and initiate by examining some of the theories about persuasion and its primary tool—language—while keeping the question of ethics foremost in our minds.

To assist you on your journey, you will find several instructional tools throughout all three parts of this book to help you understand the concepts, theories, real world applications, and ethical dimensions we will consider. First, a list of Learning Goals precedes each chapter.

Second, you will find a list of Key Terms at the end of each chapter. To be a successful student of persuasion, you should be able to achieve the learning goals and identify and explain the key terms. To keep our eyes on the ethical issues hinted at in the preceding paragraphs, the book also has an interactive Application of Ethics exercise at the end of each chapter that you can role play either individually or as a class. Each chapter also contains one or more interactive boxes that direct you to become more aware of the increasing cultural diversity we face and the impact of the interactive media explosion we are facing.

His farm is maintained by a regular schedule of field chores. What is done must be done properly and with sensitivity. Once the farmer has determined that a plot of land should grow rice or vegetables and has cast the seed, he must assume responsibility for maintaining that plot.

To disrupt nature and then to abandon her is harmful and irresponsible. In the fall Mr. Fukuoka sows the seeds of rice, white clover, and winter grain onto the same fields and covers them with a thick layer of rice straw.

The One-Straw Revolution

The barley or rye and the clover sprout up right away; the rice seeds lie dormant until spring. While the winter grain is growing and ripening in the lower fields, the orchard hillsides become the center of activity.

The citrus harvest lasts from mid-November to April. The rye and barley are harvested in May and spread to dry on the field for a week or ten days.

They are then threshed, winnowed, and put into sacks for storage. All of the straw is scattered unshredded across the field as mulch. Water is then held in the field for a short time during the monsoon rains in June to weaken the clover and weeds and to give the rice a chance to sprout through the ground cover.

Once the field is drained, the clover recovers and spreads beneath the growing rice plants. From then until harvest, a time of heavy labor for the traditional farmer, the only jobs in Mr. Fukuoka's rice fields are those of maintaining the drainage channels and mowing the narrow walkways between the fields.

The rice is harvested in October. The grain is hung to dry and then threshed. Autumn seeding is completed just as the early varieties of mandarin oranges are becoming ripe and ready for harvest. Fukuoka harvests between 1 8 and 22 bushels 1, to 1, pounds of rice per quarter acre. This yield is approximately the same as is produced by either the chemical or the traditional method in his area. The yield of his winter grain crop is often higher than that of either the traditional farmer or the chemical farmer who both use the ridge and furrow method of cultivation.

All three methods natural, traditional, and chemical yield comparable harvests, but differ markedly in their effect on the soil. The soil in Mr. Fukuoka's fields improves with each season. Over the past twenty-five years, since he stopped plowing, his fields have improved in fertility, structure, and in their ability to retain water.

By the traditional method the condition of the soil over the years remains about the same. The farmer takes yields in direct proportion to the amount of compost and manure he puts in. The soil in the fields of the chemical farmer becomes lifeless and depleted of its native fertility in a short time.

One of the greatest advantages of Mr. Fukuoka's method is that rice can be grown without flooding the field throughout the growing season. Few people have ever thought this possible. It is possible, and Mr. Fukuoka maintains that rice grows better this way. His rice plants are strong-stemmed and deeply rooted.

The old variety of glutinous rice that he grows has between and grains per head. In many places natural farming can completely eliminate the need for irrigation. Rice and other high- yielding crops can therefore be grown in areas not previously thought suitable. Steep and otherwise marginal land can be brought into production without danger of erosion.

By means of natural farming, soils already damaged by careless agricultural practices or by chemicals can be effectively rehabilitated.

Plant diseases and insects are present in the fields and in the orchard, but the crops are never devastated. The damage affects only the weakest plants. Fukuoka insists that the best disease and insect control is to grow crops in a healthy environment. The fruit trees of Mr. Fukuoka's orchard are not pruned low and wide for easy harvesting, but are allowed to grow into their distinctive natural shapes.

Vegetables and herbs are grown on the orchard slopes with a minimum of soil preparation. During the spring, seeds of burdock, cabbage, radish, soybeans, mustard, turnips, carrots and other vegetables are mixed together and tossed out to germinate in an open area among the trees before one of the long spring rains. This sort of planting obviously would not work everywhere. It works well in Japan where there is a humid climate with rain dependably falling throughout the spring months.

The texture of the soil of Mr. Fukuoka's orchard is clayey. The surface layer is rich in organic matter, friable, and retains water well. This is the result of the cover of weeds and clover that has grown in the orchard continuously for many years. The weeds must be cut back when the vegetable seedlings are young, but once the vegetables have established themselves they are left to grow up with the natural ground cover.

Some vegetables go unharvested, the seeds fall, and after one or two generations, they revert to the growing habits of their strong and slightly bitter-tasting wild predecessors. Many of these vegetables grow up completely untended. Once, not long after I came to Mr. Fukuoka's farm, I was walking through a remote section of the orchard and unexpectedly kicked something hard in the tall grass.

Stooping to look more closely, I found a cucumber, and nearby I found a squash nestled among the clover. For years Mr. Fukuoka wrote about his method in books and magazines, and was interviewed on radio and television, but almost no one followed his example. At that time Japanese society was moving with determination in exactly the opposite direction.

This enabled the Japanese farmer to produce approximately the same yields as the traditional method, but the farmer's time and labor were reduced by more than half. This seemed a dream come true, and within one generation almost everyone had switched to chemical agriculture. For centuries Japanese farmers had maintained organic matter in the soil by rotating crops, by adding compost and manure, and by growing cover crops.

Once these practices were neglected and fast-acting chemical fertilizer was used instead, the humus was depleted in a single generation. The structure of the soil deteriorated; crops became weak and dependent on chemical nutrients.

To make up for reduced human and animal labor, the new system mined the fertility reserves of the soil. During the past forty years Mr. Fukuoka has witnessed with indignation the degeneration both of the land and of Japanese society. The Japanese followed singlemindedly the American model of economic and industrial development.

The population shifted as farmers migrated from the countryside into the growing industrial centers. The rural village where Mr. Fukuoka was born and where the Fukuoka family has probably lived for 1 , years or more now stands at the edge of the advancing suburbs of Matsuyama City. A national highway with its litter of sake bottles and trash passes through Mr.

Fukuoka's rice fields. Although he does not identify his philosophy with any particular religious sect or organization, Mr. Fukuoka's terminology and teaching methods are strongly influenced by Zen Buddhism and Taoism.

He will sometimes also quote from the Bible and bring up points of Judeo-Christian philosophy and theology to illustrate what he is saying or to stimulate discussion.

Fukuoka believes that natural farming proceeds from the spiritual health of the individual. He considers the healing of the land and the purification of the human spirit to be one process, and he proposes a way of life and a way of farming in which this process can take place. It is unrealistic to believe that, in his lifetime and within current conditions, Mr. Fukuoka could completely realize his vision in practice. Even after more than thirty years his techniques are still evolving.

His great contribution is to demonstrate that the daily process of establishing spiritual health can bring about a practical and beneficial transformation of the world. Today, the general recognition of the long-term dangers of chemical farming has renewed interest in alternative methods of agriculture. Fukuoka has emerged as a leading spokesman for agricultural revolution in Japan. Since the publication of The One-Straw Revolution in October, , interest in natural farming has spread rapidly among the Japanese people.

During the year-and-a-half that I worked at Mr. Fukuoka's, I returned frequently to my farm in Kyoto. Everyone there was anxious to try the new method and gradually more and more of our land was converted to natural farming. Besides rice and rye in the traditional rotation, we also grew wheat, buckwheat, potatoes, corn, and soybeans by Mr. Fukuoka's method.

To plant corn and other row crops which germinate slowly, we poked a hole in the soil with a stick or a piece of bamboo and dropped a seed into each hole. We interplanted the corn with soybeans by the same method or by wrapping the seeds in clay pellets and scattering them onto the field. Then we mowed the ground cover of weeds and white clover, and covered the field with straw. The clover came back, but only after the corn and soybeans were well established.

Fukuoka was able to help by making some suggestions, but we had to adjust the method by trial and error to our various crops and local conditions. We knew from the start that it would take more than just a few seasons, both for the land and our own spirits, to change over to natural farming. The transition has become an on- going process. Larry Korn Notes on the Translation A literal translation from one language to another would be challenging enough, but to retain the flavor and cultural context of the original as well, is even more difficult.

In particular, Japanese is more subtle than English in expressing the kind of spiritual experiences and philosophical teachings which are found in this book. Some terms, such as "discriminating" and "non-discriminating" knowledge, "no-mind," and "do-nothing" have no English equivalent, and so have been rendered literally with additional explanation provided in notes.

It is a common teaching device among Oriental philosophers to use paradox, illogic, and apparent contradiction to help break habitual patterns of thought.

Such passages are not necessarily to be taken either literally or figuratively, but rather as exercises to open the consciousness to perception beyond the reach of the intellect. The Japanese, mugi, translated as "winter grain," includes wheat, rye, and barley. The growing methods for these grains are similar, except that wheat generally takes a few weeks longer to mature.

Rye and barley are much more commonly grown in Japan because wheat is not ready for harvest until the middle of the Japanese rainy season.

The Japanese, mikan, is translated as citrus. The most common Oriental citrus is the mandarin orange. While many varieties of mandarin oranges are grown in Japan, the most common is a small orange fruit very much like our familiar tangerine.

Where context requires, the precise winter grain and citrus varieties are given. Fukuoka's farm, and under his supervision in Spring, It is not a verbatim translation. Sections of other works by Mr. Fukuoka, as well as parts of conversations with him, have been included in the text. Seen at a glance, this rice straw may appear light and insignificant.

Hardly anyone would believe that it could start a revolution. But I have come to realize the weight and power of this straw. For me, this revolution is very real.

Take a look at these fields of rye and barley. This ripening grain will yield about 22 bushels 1, pounds per quarter acre. I believe this matches the top yields in Ehime Prefecture. And if this equals the best yield in Ehime Prefecture, it could easily equal the top harvest in the whole country since this is one of the prime agricultural areas in Japan.

And yet these fields have not been plowed for twenty-five years. To plant, I simply broadcast rye and barley seed on separate fields in the fall, while the rice is still standing. A few weeks later I harvest the rice and spread the rice straw back over the fields. It is the same for the rice seeding. This winter grain will be cut around the 20th of May. About two weeks before the crop has fully matured, I broadcast rice seed over the rye and barley. After the winter grain has been harvested and the grains threshed, I spread the rye and barley straw over the field.

I suppose that using the same method to plant rice and winter grain is unique to this kind of farming. But there is an easier way. As we walk over to the next field, let me point out that the rice there was sown last fall at the same time as the winter grain.

The whole year's planting was finished in that field by New Year's Day. You might also notice that white clover and weeds are growing in these fields. Clover seed was sown among the rice plants in early October, shortly before the rye and barley. I do not worry about sowing the weeds — they reseed themselves quite easily. So the order of planting in this field is like this: In early November, the rice is harvested, and then the next year's rice seed is sown and straw laid across the field.

The rye and barley you see in front of you were grown this way. It seems unlikely that there could be a simpler way of raising grain. This method completely contradicts modern agricultural techniques. It throws scientific knowledge and traditional farming know-how right out the window. With this kind of farming, which uses no machines, no prepared fertilizer and no chemicals, it is possible to attain a harvest equal to or greater than that of the average Japanese farm.

The proof is ripening right before your eyes. Nothing at All Recently people have been asking me why I started farming this way so many years ago. Until now I have never discussed this with anyone. You could say there was no way to talk about it. It was simply — how would you say it — a shock, a flash, one small experience that was the starting point. That realization completely changed my life.

It is nothing you can really talk about, but it might be put something like this: There is no intrinsic value in anything, and every action is a futile, meaningless effort.

This "thought" developed suddenly in my head when I was still quite young. I did not know if this insight, that all human understanding and effort are of no account, was valid or not, but if I examined these thoughts and tried to banish them, I could come up with nothing within myself to contradict them. Only the certain belief that this was so burned within me. It is generally thought that there is nothing more splendid than human intelligence, that human beings are creatures of special value, and that their creations and accomplishments as mirrored in culture and history are wondrous to behold.

That is the common belief, anyway. Since what I was thinking was a denial of this, I was unable to communicate my view to anyone. Eventually I decided to give my thoughts a form, to put them into practice, and so to determine whether my understanding was right or wrong. To spend my life farming, growing rice and winter grain — this was the course upon which I settled.

And what was this experience that changed my life? My main job was to inspect incoming and outgoing plants for disease-carrying insects. I was fortunate to have a good deal of free time, which I spent in the research laboratory, carrying out investigations in my specialty of plant pathology. This laboratory was located next to Yamate Park and looked down on Yokohama harbor from the bluff. Directly in front of the building was the Catholic Church, and to the east was the Ferris Girls' School.

It was very quiet, all in all the perfect environment for carrying on research. The laboratory pathology researcher was Eiichi Kurosawa. I was very fortunate to be a student of Professor Kurosawa. Although he remained largely unknown in the academic world, he is the man who isolated and raised in culture the fungus which causes bakanae disease in rice.

He became the first to extract the plant growth hormone, gibberellin, from the fungus culture. This hormone, when a small amount is absorbed by the young rice plants, has the peculiar effect of causing the plant to grow abnormally tall. When given in excess, however, it brings about the opposite reaction, causing the plant's growth to be retarded. No one took much notice of this discovery in Japan, but overseas it became a topic of active research. Soon thereafter, an American made use of gibberellin in developing the seedless grape.

Looking through the microscope, I observed fungus cultures, crossbred various fungi and created new disease- causing varieties. I was fascinated with my work. Since the job required deep, sustained concentration, there were times when I actually fell unconscious while working in the lab. This was also a time of youthful high spirits and I did not spend all of my time shut up in the research room. The place was the port city of Yokohama, no better spot to fool around and have a good time.

It was during that time that the following episode occurred. Intent, and with camera in hand, I was strolling by the wharf and caught sight of a beautiful woman. Thinking that she would make a great subject for a photograph, I asked her to pose for me. I helped her onto the deck of the foreign ship anchored there, and asked her to look this way and that and took several pictures. She asked me to send her copies when the photos were ready. When I asked where to send them, she just said, "To Ofuna," and left without mentioning her name.

After I had developed the film, I showed the prints to a friend and asked if he recognized her. He gasped and said, "That's Mieko Takamine, the famous movie star! There was one missing, however. Thinking about this later, I realized that it was the close-up profile shot I had taken; it probably showed some wrinkles in her face. I was delighted and felt I had caught a glimpse into the feminine psyche.

At other times, clumsy and awkward though I was, I frequented a dance hall in the Nankingai area. One time I caught sight there of the popular singer, Noriko Awaya, and asked her to dance. I can never forget the feeling of that dance, because I was so overwhelmed by her huge body that I could not even get my arm around her waist.

In any event, I was a very busy, very fortunate young man, spending my days in amazement at the world of nature revealed through the eyepiece of the microscope, struck by how similar this minute world was to the great world of the infinite universe.

In the evening, either in or out of love, I played around and enjoyed myself. I believe it was this aimless life, coupled with fatigue from overwork, that finally led to fainting spells in the research room. The consequence of all this was that I contracted acute pneumonia and was placed in the pneumothorax treatment room on the top floor of the Police Hospital.

It was winter and through a broken window the wind blew swirls of snow around the room. It was warm beneath the covers, but my face was like ice. The nurse would check my temperature and be gone in an instant. As it was a private room, people hardly ever looked in. I felt I had been put out in the bitter cold, and suddenly plunged into a world of solitude and loneliness. I found myself face to face with the fear of death. As I think about it now, it seems a useless fear, but at the time, I took it seriously.

I was finally released from the hospital, but I could not pull myself out of my depression. In what had I placed my confidence until then? I had been unconcerned and content, but what was the nature of that complacency? I was in an agony of doubt about the nature of life and death. I could not sleep, could not apply myself to my work.

In nightly wanderings above the bluff and beside the harbor, I could find no relief. One night as I wandered, I collapsed in exhaustion on a hill overlooking the harbor, finally dozing against the trunk of a large tree.

I lay there, neither asleep nor awake, until dawn. I can still remember that it was the morning of the 15th of May. In a daze I watched the harbor grow light, seeing the sunrise and yet somehow not seeing it. As the breeze blew up from below the bluff, the morning mist suddenly disappeared. Just at that moment a night heron appeared, gave a sharp cry, and flew away into the distance. I could hear the flapping of its wings. In an instant all my doubts and the gloomy mist of my confusion vanished.

Everything I had held in firm conviction, everything upon which I had ordinarily relied was swept away with the wind. I felt that I understood just one thing. Without my thinking about them, words came from my mouth: My spirit became light and clear.

I was dancing wildly for joy. I could hear the small birds chirping in the trees, and see the distant waves glistening in the rising sun. The leaves danced green and sparkling.

I felt that this was truly heaven on earth. Everything that had possessed me, all the agonies, disappeared like dreams and illusions, and something one might call "true nature" stood revealed. I think it could safely be said that from the experience of that morning my life changed completely. Despite the change, I remained at root an average, foolish man, and there has been no change in this from then to the present time.

Seen from the outside, there is no more run-of-the-mill fellow than I, and there has been nothing extraordinary about my daily life. But the assurance that I know this one thing has not changed since that time. I have spent thirty years, forty years, testing whether or not I have been mistaken, reflecting as I went along, but not once have I found evidence to oppose my conviction.

That this realization in itself has great value does not mean that any special value is attached to me. I remain a simple man, just an old crow, so to speak. To the casual observer I may seem either humble or arrogant.

I tell the young people up in my orchard again and again not to try to imitate me, and it really angers me if there is someone who does not take this advice to heart. I ask, instead, that they simply live in nature and apply themselves to their daily work. No, there is nothing special about me, but what I have glimpsed is vastly important. Returning to the Country On the day following this experience, May 16th, I reported to work and handed in my resignation on the spot.

My superiors and friends were amazed. They had no idea what to make of this. They held a farewell party for me in a restaurant above the wharf, but the atmosphere was a bit peculiar. This young man who had, until the previous day, gotten along well with everyone, who did not seem particularly dissatisfied with his work, who, on the contrary, had wholeheartedly dedicated himself to his research, had suddenly announced that he was quitting.

And there I was, laughing happily. At that time I addressed everyone as follows, "On this side is the wharf.

On the other side is Pier 4. If you think there is life on this side, then death is on the other. If you want to get rid of the idea of death, then you should rid yourself of the notion that there is life on this side. Life and death are one. He must be out of his mind," they must have thought.

They all saw me off with rueful faces. I was the only one who walked out briskly, in high spirits. At that time my roommate was extremely worried about me and suggested that I take a quiet rest, perhaps out on the Boso Peninsula. So I left. I would have gone anywhere at all if someone had asked me. I boarded the bus and rode for many miles gazing out at the checkered pattern of fields and small villages along the highway. At one stop, I saw a small sign which read, "Utopia.

On the coast there was a small inn and, climbing the cliff, I found a place with a truly wonderful view. I stayed at the inn and spent the days dozing in the tall grasses overlooking the sea. It may have been a few days, a week, or a month, but anyway I stayed there for some time.

The One-Straw Revolution

As the days passed my exhilaration dimmed, and I began to reflect on just what had happened. You could say I was finally coming to myself again. I went to Tokyo and stayed for a while, passing the days by walking in the park, stopping people on the street and talking to them, sleeping here and there. My friend was worried and came to see how I was getting along.

To part is just to part. I was enjoying myself, drifting from place to place with the breeze. I challenged a lot of people with my conviction that everything is meaningless and of no value, that everything returns to nothingness. But this was too much, or too little, for the everyday world to conceive.

There was no communication whatsoever. I could only think of this concept of non- usefulness as being of great benefit to the world', and particularly the present world which is moving so rapidly in the opposite direction. I actually wandered about with the intention of spreading the word throughout the whole country. The outcome was that wherever I went I was ignored as an eccentric.

So I returned to my father's farm in the country. My father was growing tangerines at that time and I moved into a hut on the mountain and began to live a very simple, primitive life. I thought that if here, as a farmer of citrus and grain, I could actually demonstrate my realization, the world would recognize its truth.

Instead of offering a hundred explanations, would not practicing this philosophy be the best way? It was in the 1 3th year of the present emperor's reign, I settled myself on the mountain and everything went well up to the time that my father entrusted me with the richly-bearing trees in the orchard.

He had already pruned the trees to "the shape of sake cups" so that the fruit could easily be harvested. When I left them abandoned in this state, the result was that the branches became intertwined, insects attacked the trees and the entire orchard withered away in no time. My conviction was that crops grow themselves and should not have to be grown.

I had acted in the belief that everything should be left to take its natural course, but I found that if you apply this way of thinking all at once, before long things do not go so well. This is abandonment, not "natural farming. Fukuoka draws attention to his method's comparative ease. This way of farming requires hard work, especially at the harvest, but far less than other methods. My father was shocked.

He said I must rediscipline myself, perhaps take a job somewhere and return when I had pulled myself back together. At that time my father was headman of the village, and it was hard for the other members of the community to relate to his eccentric son, who obviously could not get along with the world, living as he did back in the mountains.

Moreover, I disliked the prospect of military service, and as the war was becoming more and more violent, I decided to go along humbly with my father's wishes and take a job. At that time technical specialists were few. I imposed upon the kindness of Kochi Prefecture for almost eight years.

At the testing center I became a supervisor in the scientific agriculture division, and in research devoted myself to increasing wartime food productivity. But actually during those eight years, I was pondering the relationship between scientific and natural agriculture. Chemical agriculture, which utilizes the products of human intelligence, was reputed to be superior.

The question which was always in the back of my mind was whether or not natural agriculture could stand up against modern science. When the war ended I felt a fresh breeze of freedom, and with a sigh of relief I returned to my home village to take up farming anew. Toward a Do-Nothing Farming For thirty years I lived only in my farming and had little contact with people outside my own community. During those years I was heading in a straight line toward a "do-nothing" agricultural method.

The usual way to go about developing a method is to ask "How about trying this? This is modern agriculture and it only results in making the farmer busier.

My way was opposite. I ultimately reached the conclusion that there was no need to plow, no need to apply fertilizer, no need to make compost, no need to use insecticide. When you get right down to it, there are few agricultural practices that are really necessary. The reason that man's improved techniques seem to be necessary is that the natural balance has been so badly upset beforehand by those same techniques that the land has become dependent on them.

This line of reasoning not only applies to agriculture, but to other aspects of human society as well. Doctors and medicine become necessary when people create a sickly environment.

Formal schooling has no intrinsic value, but becomes necessary when humanity creates a condition in which one must become "educated" to get along. Before the end of the war, when I went up to the citrus orchard to practice what I then thought was natural farming, I did no pruning and left the orchard to itself. The branches became tangled, the trees were attacked by insects and almost two acres of mandarin orange trees withered and died.

From that time on the question, "What is the natural pattern? In the process of arriving at the answer, I wiped out another trees. Finally I felt I could say with certainty: In nature, formal schooling has no function. In raising children, many parents make the same mistake I made in the orchard at first. For example, teaching music to children is as unnecessary as pruning orchard trees. A child's ear catches the music.

The murmuring of a stream, the sound of frogs croaking by the riverbank, the rustling of leaves in the forest, all these natural sounds are music — true music. But when a variety of disturbing noises enter and confuse the ear, the child's pure, direct appreciation of music degenerates. If left to continue along that path, the child will be unable to hear the call of a bird or the sound of the wind as songs.

That is why music education is thought to be beneficial to the child's development. The child who is raised with an ear pure and clear may not be able to play the popular tunes on the violin or the piano, but I do not think this has anything to do with the ability to hear true music or to sing.

It is when the heart is filled with song that the child can be said to be musically gifted. Almost everyone thinks that "nature" is a good thing, but few can grasp the difference between natural and unnatural. If a single new bud is snipped off a fruit tree with a pair of scissors, that may bring about disorder which cannot be undone. When growing according to the natural form, branches spread alternately from the trunk and the leaves receive sunlight uniformly.

If this sequence is disrupted the branches come into conflict, lie one upon another and become tangled, and the leaves wither in the places where the sun cannot penetrate. Insect damage develops. If the tree is not pruned the following year more withered branches will appear.

Human beings with their tampering do something wrong, leave the damage unrepaired, and when the adverse results accumulate, work with all their might to correct them.

When the corrective actions appear to be successful, they come to view these measures as splendid accomplishments.

People do this over and over again. It is as if a fool were to stomp on and break the tiles of his roof. Then when it starts to rain and the ceiling begins to rot away, he hastily climbs up to mend the damage, rejoicing in the end that he has accomplished a miraculous solution. It is the same with the scientist.

He pores over books night and day, straining his eyes and becoming nearsighted, and if you wonder what on earth he has been working on all that time — it is to become the inventor of eyeglasses to correct nearsightedness. Returning to the Source Leaning against the long handle of my scythe, I pause in my work in the orchard and gaze out at the mountains and the village below.

I wonder how it is that people's philosophies have come to spin faster than the changing seasons. The path I have followed, this natural way of farming, which strikes most people as strange, was first interpreted as a reaction against the advance and reckless development of science.

But all I have been doing, farming out here in the country, is trying to show that humanity knows nothing. Because the world is moving with such furious energy in the opposite direction, it may appear that I have fallen behind the times, but I firmly believe that the path I have been following is the most sensible one. During the past few years the number of people interested in natural farming has grown considerably. It seems that the limit of scientific development has been reached, misgivings have begun to be felt, and the time for reappraisal has arrived.

That which was viewed as primitive and backward is now unexpectedly seen to be far ahead of modern science. This may seem strange at first, but I do not find it strange at all. I discussed this with Kyoto University Professor Iinuma recently.

A thousand years ago agriculture was practiced in Japan without plowing, and it was not until the Tokugawa Era years ago that shallow cultivation was introduced. Deep plowing came to Japan with Western agriculture. I said that in coping with the problems of the future the next generation would return to the non- cultivation method.

To grow crops in an unplowed field may seem at first a regression to primitive agriculture, but over the years this method has been shown in university laboratories and agricultural testing centers across the country to be the most simple, efficient, and up-to-date method of all.

Although this way of farming disavows modern science, it now has come to stand in the forefront of modern agricultural development. From then on it appeared often in print and was introduced to the public at large on radio and television programs many times, but nobody paid much attention to it. Now suddenly, it is a completely different story.

You might say that natural farming has become the rage. Journalists, professors, and technical researchers are flocking to visit my fields and the huts up on the mountain. Different people see it from different points of view, make their own interpretations, and then leave. One sees it as primitive, another as backward, someone else considers it the pinnacle of agricultural achievement, and a fourth hails it as a breakthrough into the future.

In general, people are only concerned with whether this kind of farming is an advance into the future or a revival of times past. Few are able to grasp correctly that natural farming arises from the unmoving and unchanging center of agricultural development. To the extent that people separate themselves from nature, they spin out further and further from the center.

At the same time, a centripetal effect asserts itself and the desire to return to nature arises. But if people merely become caught up in reacting, moving to the left or to the right, depending on conditions, the result is only more activity. The non-moving point of origin, which lies outside the realm of relativity, is passed over, unnoticed.

I believe that even "returning-to-nature" and anti-pollution activities, no matter how commendable, are not moving toward a genuine solution if they are carried out solely in reaction to the overdevelopment of the present age. Nature does not change, although the way of viewing nature invariably changes from age to age. No matter the age, natural farming exists forever as the wellspring of agriculture. One Reason That Natural Farming Has Not Spread Over the past twenty or thirty years this method of growing rice and winter grain has been tested over a wide range of climates and natural conditions.

Almost every prefecture in Japan has run tests comparing yields of "direct seeding non-cultivation" with those of paddy rice growing and the usual ridge and furrow rye and barley cultivation.

These tests have produced no evidence to contradict the universal applicability of natural farming. And so one may ask why this truth has not spread. I think that one of the reasons is that the world has become so specialized that it has become impossible for people to grasp anything in its entirely. For example, an expert in insect damage prevention from the Kochi Prefectural Testing Center came to inquire why there were so few rice leaf-hoppers in my fields even though I had not used insecticide.

Upon investigating the habitat, the balance between insects and their natural enemies, the rate of spider propagation and so on, the leaf-hoppers were found to be just as scarce in my fields as in the Center's fields, which are sprayed countless times with a variety of deadly chemicals. The professor was also surprised to find that while the harmful insects were few, their natural predators were far more numerous in my fields than in the sprayed fields. Then it dawned on him that the fields were being maintained in this state by means of a natural balance established among the various insect communities.

He acknowledged that if my method were generally adopted, the problem of crop devastation by leaf-hoppers could be solved. He then got into his car and returned to Kochi. But if you ask whether or not the testing center's soil fertility or crop specialists have come here, the answer is no, they have not. And if you were to suggest at a conference or gathering that this method, or rather non- method, be tried on a wide scale, it is my guess that the prefecture or research station would reply, "Sorry, it's too early for that.

We must first carry out research from every possible angle before giving final approval. This sort of thing goes on all the time. Specialists and technicians from all over Japan have come to this farm. Seeing the fields from the standpoint of his own specialty, every one of these researchers has found them at least satisfactory, if not remarkable. But in the five or six years since the professor from the research station came to visit here, there have been few changes in Kochi Prefecture.

This year the agricultural department of Kinki University has set up a natural farming project team in which students of several different departments will come here to conduct investigations. This approach may be one step nearer, but I have a feeling that the next move may be two steps in the opposite direction. Self-styled experts often comment, "The basic idea of the method is all right, but wouldn't it be more convenient to harvest by machine?

But this way of thinking completely misses the point. The farmer who moves toward compromise can no longer criticize science at the fundamental level.

Natural farming is gentle and easy and indicates a return to the source of farming. A single step away from the source can only lead one astray. Humanity Does Not Know Nature Lately I have been thinking that the point must be reached when scientists, politicians, artists, philosophers, men of religion, and all those who work in the fields should gather here, gaze out over these fields, and talk things over together.

I think this is the kind of thing that must happen if people are to see beyond their specialties. Scientists think they can understand nature. That is the stand they take. Because they are convinced that they can understand nature, they are committed to investigating nature and putting it to use. But I think an understanding of nature lies beyond the reach of human intelligence. I often tell the young people in the huts on the mountain, who come here to help out and to learn about natural farming, that anybody can see the trees up on the mountain.

They can see the green of the leaves; they can see the rice plants. They think they know what green is. In contact with nature morning and night, they sometimes come to think that they know nature.

But when they think they are beginning to understand nature, they can be sure that they are on the wrong track. Why is it impossible to know nature? That which is conceived to be nature is only the idea of nature arising in each person's mind. The ones who see true nature are infants.

They see without thinking, straight and clear. If even the names of plants are known, a mandarin orange tree of the citrus family, a pine of the pine family, nature is not seen in its true form. An object seen in isolation from the whole is not the real thing. Specialists in various fields gather together and observe a stalk of rice. The insect disease specialist sees only insect damage, the specialist in plant nutrition considers only the plant's vigor.

This is unavoidable as things are now. As an example, I told the gentleman from the research station when he was investigating the relation between rice leaf-hoppers and spiders in my fields, "Professor, since you are researching spiders, you are interested in only one among the many natural predators of the leaf-hopper.

This year spiders appeared in great numbers, but last year it was toads. Before that, it was frogs that predominated. There are countless variations. There are seasons when the leaf-hopper population is low because there are many spiders.

There are times when a lot of rain falls and frogs cause the spiders to disappear, or when little rain falls and neither leaf-hoppers nor frogs appear at all. Methods of insect control which ignore the relationships among the insects themselves are truly useless. Research on spiders and leaf-hoppers must also consider the relation between frogs and spiders.

When things have reached this point, a frog professor will also be needed. Experts on spiders and leaf-hoppers, another on rice, and another expert on water management will all have to join the gathering.

Furthermore, there are four or five different kinds of spiders in these fields.

Full text of "The-One-Straw-Revolution"

I remember a few years ago when somebody came rushing over to the house early one morning to ask me if I had covered my fields with a silk net or something. I could not imagine what he was talking about, so I hurried straight out to take a look. We had just finished harvesting the rice, and overnight the rice stubble and low-lying grasses had become completely covered with spider webs, as though with silk.

Waving and sparkling with the morning mist, it was a magnificent sight. The wonder of it is that when this happens, as it does only once in a great while, it only lasts for a day or two. If you look closely there are several spiders in every square inch. They are so thick on the field that there is hardly any space between them. In a quarter acre there must be how many thousands, how many millions! When you go to look at the field two or three days later, you see that strands of web several yards long have broken off and are waving about in the wind with five or six spiders clinging to each one.

It is like when dandelion fluff or pine cone seeds are blown away in the wind. The young spiders cling to the strands and are sent sailing off in the sky. The spectacle is an amazing natural drama. Seeing this, you understand that poets and artists will also have to join in the gathering. When chemicals are put into a field, this is all destroyed in an instant.

I once thought there would be nothing wrong with putting ashes from the fireplace onto the fields. Two or three days later the field was completely bare of spiders. The ashes had caused the strands of web to disintegrate. How many thousands of spiders fell victim to a single handful of this apparently harmless ash? Applying an insecticide is not simply a matter of eliminating the leaf-hoppers together with their natural predators. Many other essential dramas of nature are affected.

The phenomenon of these great swarms of spiders, which appear in the rice fields in the autumn and like escape artists vanish overnight, is still not understood. No one knows where they come from, how they survive the winter, or where they go when they disappear. And so the use of chemicals is not a problem for the entomologist alone. Philosophers, men of religion, artists and poets must also help to decide whether or not it is permissible to use chemicals in farming, and what the results of using even organic fertilizers might be.

We will harvest about 22 bushels 1, pounds of rice, and 22 bushels of winter grain from each quarter acre of this land. If the harvest reaches 19 bushels, as it sometimes does, you might not be able to find a greater harvest if you searched the whole country. Since advanced technology had nothing to do with growing this grain, it stands as a contradiction to the assumptions of modern science. Anyone who will come and see these fields and accept their testimony, will feel deep misgivings over the question of whether or not humans know nature, and of whether or not nature can be known within the confines of human understanding.

The irony is that science has served only to show how small human knowledge is. Fukuoka makes compost of his wood ashes and other organic household wastes.

He applies this to his small kitchen garden. Four Principles of Natural Farming Make your way carefully through these fields. Dragonflies and moths fly up in a flurry. Honeybees buzz from blossom to blossom.

Part the leaves and you will see insects, spiders, frogs, lizards and many other small animals bustling about in the cool shade. Moles and earthworms burrow beneath the surface.

This is a balanced rice field ecosystem. Insect and plant communities maintain a stable relationship here. It is not uncommon for a plant disease to sweep through this area, leaving the crops in these fields unaffected.

And now look over at the neighbor's field for a moment. The weeds have all been wiped out by herbicides and cultivation. The soil animals and insects have been exterminated by poison. The soil has been burned clean of organic matter and microorganisms by chemical fertilizers.

In the summer you see farmers at work in the fields, wearing gas masks and long rubber gloves. These rice fields, which have been farmed continuously for over 1, years, have now been laid waste by the exploitive farming practices of a single generation.

Four Principles The first is NO cultivation, that is, no plowing or turning of the soil. For centuries, farmers have assumed that the plow is essential for growing crops. However, non- cultivation is fundamental to natural farming. The earth cultivates itself naturally by means of the penetration of plant roots and the activity of microorganisms, small animals, and earthworms. Their careless farming practices drain the soil of essential nutrients and the result is yearly depletion of the land.

If left to itself, the soil maintains its fertility naturally, in accordance with the orderly cycle of plant and animal life. The third is no weeding by tillage or herbicides.

Weeds play their part in building soil fertility and in balancing the biological community. As a fundamental principle, weeds should be controlled, not eliminated. Fukuoka grows a leguminous ground cover of white clover, returns the threshed straw to the fields, and adds a little poultry manure.

Masanobu Fukuoka

The fourth is no dependence on chemicals. Nature, left alone, is in perfect balance. Harmful insects and plant diseases are always present, but do not occur in nature to an extent which requires the use of poisonous chemicals. The sensible approach to disease and insect control is to grow sturdy crops in a healthy environment. Cultivation When the soil is cultivated the natural environment is altered beyond recognition.

The repercussions of such acts have caused the farmer nightmares for countless generations. For example, when a natural area is brought under the plow very strong weeds such as crabgrass and docks sometimes come to dominate the vegetation. When these weeds take hold, the farmer is faced with a nearly impossible task of weeding each year. Very often, the land is abandoned.

In coping with problems such as these, the only sensible approach is to discontinue the unnatural practices which have brought about the situation in the first place. The farmer also has a responsibility to repair the damage he has caused. Cultivation of the soil should be discontinued.


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