Meet Japan's New Rice Idols
posted on by Eric Stimson
Yamagata Prefecture in Tōhoku is one of the regions of Japan most known for rice production. In an effort to promote local varieties of rice, rice producers have teamed up to develop an unofficial idol unit starring anthropomorphized rice varieties, RiCes (pronounced like "recess").
The idol unit currently has three members, but they're open to admitting more. The catch is the rice has to score more than 80 "flavor points" (an indicator of the grain's quality; 65 points is average).
The infrared machine used to evaluate rice quality
The unit's members so far are:
Haenuki Shōnai (representing Haenuki), a serious, earnest girl. She has experience in a different idol unit. Despite appearances, she is older than Tsuyahime.
Tsuyahime Uzen (representing Tsuyahime), who is the youngest of the three but also the leader. She can be selfish at times, but pulls the group along with her energy. She tries hard, but sometimes her efforts don't amount to much.
Hitomebore Miyagi (representing Hitomebore), the "big sister" of the three. She has a relaxed personality and takes things at her own pace. She is well-rounded and skilled at dancing and singing, yet sometimes she is weakened by anemia.
The RiCes packages go on sale on November 12, but can be pre-ordered at Yahoo! Japan Shopping. Tsuyahime costs 3,000 yen ($25) while the others are 2,500 yen ($21). Each bag weighs 5 kilograms (about 11 pounds).