Mi and Wind

箕(mi, pronunciation as ‘me’ in English) is one of the tools used for extracting rice from its husk. In Japan, it was traditionally made from bamboo.

Bamboo is considered by many to be a magic tree, growing 80cm – 100cm a day while remaining hollow inside. It even once appeared as the birth spot of a space child to the planet in the legendary Japanese tale, Princess Kaguya.

On a windy day in harvest season, a farmer fills his Mi with the mix of rice and husk. A farmer lifts it up into the wind and sheaves it with a special twisting motion from a certain height. As the light husk is blown off by the wind, the heavy rice drops straight down. The technique later became more controlled when fans were developed in the early 20th century.

It was once common for farmers to make their own harvesting tools by hand, but there are now very few people remaining who can demonstrate these traditional techniques today.

During many of our Kiwanosato schools we have been lucky to learn some of these disappearing traditional techniques directly from experienced local people: bamboo weaving, Japanese style gardening, mud wall building and traditional preservation cooking.