豆知識

Thorough explanation of the different types of rice!


There are two main types of rice


There are two types of rice cultivated in the world: Asian rice and African rice.

African rice is produced only in small quantities in western Africa, and most of the rice cultivated today is a member of the Asian rice family.

Asian rice is further divided into japonica and indica varieties.

The rice that is mainly eaten in Japan where we live is from the japonica variety.

The general characteristics of each type of rice are as follows

There are differences in the climate suitable for cultivation, the shape and size of the rice grains, and the ingredients contained in the rice.

Indica rice

This rice is grown in regions with high temperatures, such as India and Southeast Asia, and accounts for more than 80% of the rice grown in the world. Generally, the grains are long and thin, hard and dry.

Japonica rice  

Most of the rice grown in Japan is of this type.
It is more resistant to cold than the Indica variety, and the rice is generally short and round in shape, with a glutinous consistency and gloss when cooked.

The same japonica variety is called by different names depending on the conditions in which it is grown.

Rice grown in paddy fields is called “paddy rice,” while rice grown in fields without water is called “upland rice.

Most of the rice grown in Japan today is paddy rice, but land rice has been cultivated since ancient times in areas where rice paddies could not be built due to poor water availability.

The same paddy rice can be divided into two types depending on the composition of the rice: Uruchi rice and glutinous rice.

In addition to the rice we eat as rice, there is also rice that is used as feed for pigs and chickens, and rice that is processed into sake, miso, and rice crackers.


What is Uruchi rice and Glutinous rice?


There are two types of rice: Uruchi rice and glutinous rice.

Uruchi rice is what we usually eat as rice, and glutinous rice is what we eat as mochi.

Uruchi rice is translucent, while glutinous rice is whitish and looks different, but the main difference lies in the starch content.

Uchi rice contains amylose and amylopectin in a ratio of 2:8, while glutinous rice contains almost 10% amylopectin and no or very little amylose.

Amylose is responsible for hardness, while amylopectin is responsible for stickiness and softness.

Uruchi rice

Rice that is eaten as rice. Because it contains amylose, it does not become lumpy when fried, and can be eaten in a variety of ways, including Japanese, Western, and Chinese.

Glutinous rice

Most of the starch is amylopectin, which makes the rice very sticky. It is made into mochi by pounding it with a white rice pounder, and is also used to make okowa and sekihan.


There are about 500 varieties of rice in Japan.


When you go to the rice section of supermarkets, you will see names such as “Koshihikari,” “Hitomebore,” and “Yumepirika” printed on the rice bags.

The names on these bags represent the different varieties of rice.

In Japan, there are about 500 varieties of rice with different characteristics.

About two-thirds of these varieties are used for staple food, and the rest are used for glutinous rice and sake making.

Japan is a country that stretches from north to south, from Hokkaido to Okinawa, and the climate and topography are different in the north and south.

Since ancient times, rice varieties have been developed to suit each region, and rice varieties suitable for each region have been produced.

Rice is originally a tropical plant, so it did not exist in Japan.

It was introduced to Japan around the end of the Jomon period, but it took a lot of breeding to make it possible to grow it in cold regions such as Hokkaido and Tohoku.

People in the past used rice that survived in the cold environment as seeds to sow the following year, gradually creating varieties that suited the local climate.

It was not until the Meiji era (1868-1912) that the agricultural experiment stations began to develop rice varieties in earnest.

Various researches were conducted not only to make the rice tasty, but also to make it resistant to cold damage and disease, and to produce a large amount of rice.

This is the reason why there are so many varieties of rice in Japan.

In recent years, rice varieties have been developed that contain more ingredients that are beneficial to health.

There is no end to the development of new rice varieties in order to eliminate the hardships of farmers and to produce the delicious rice that consumers demand.

The development of new rice varieties is done by crossing different rice varieties with different characteristics.

The Koshihikari rice variety was created by crossing rice strains that were famous for their good taste in both eastern and western Japan.

The Akitakomachi and Hitomebore rice varieties were created by combining the taste of Koshihikari with varieties that are resistant to disease and cold.

Many of the popular rice varieties are created by crossing rice that has the taste of Koshihikari with rice that has different characteristics.


This is how breeds are created.


When creating a new rice variety, the first step is to set a goal of what characteristics the rice should have.

“For example, “good taste,” “disease resistance,” “early harvest,” and “resistance to rice collapse.

Based on these goals, we select suitable varieties for crossbreeding.

For example, we cross a variety that tastes good but is susceptible to disease with a variety that does not taste as good but is resistant to disease, and from the resulting rice we select a variety that tastes good and is resistant to disease.

This process is repeated over and over again to produce a new variety of rice.

Each of the rice varieties created in this way is given a name.

In the past, the names were just numbers, such as “Norin 1”, but as the number of new varieties increased, it became more difficult to distinguish them by number alone, so familiar names such as “Koshihikari” and “Sasanishiki” were given.

In recent years, names have been solicited from the general public, and many of them have been given names that people have come up with.

Giving the rice a familiar name makes it easier for both the rice producers and the consumers to remember the new variety, and allows people to choose rice according to their preference of origin and variety.


What are the most common varieties produced in Japan?


Do you know what is the most popular variety of rice grown in Japan?

Since 1979, Koshihikari has been the most popular rice variety, accounting for 30~40% of the rice grown in Japan every year.

Koshihikari is highly adaptable to climate and other factors, so it is grown in all prefectures except Hokkaido and Okinawa.

Most of the top 20 rice varieties are descended from Koshihikari, including Hitomebore (second place) and Hinohikari (third place).

Japan is a country that stretches from north to south.

In cold regions such as Hokkaido and Tohoku, the rice must be strong enough to withstand the cold, while in hot regions such as Kyushu and Okinawa, it is important that the quality does not deteriorate even under high temperatures.

The reason why there are so many varieties of rice in Japan is because different varieties are suited to different climates (local climate, topography, geology, etc.).

Currently, new rice varieties are being introduced all over the country.

As consumers’ preferences for rice become more diverse, more and more varieties of rice are being developed to meet their specific needs.

Rice grown in hot regions

It produces rice that is resistant to high temperatures (no white immature grains that turn white), rice that is short and does not easily fall over during typhoons, and rice that can be easily double-cropped with wheat.

Rice grown in cold regions

In addition to rice that is resistant to cold and bad weather, and to diseases caused by cold, there are also early rice varieties that require less time from planting to harvest.


Koshihikari is grown in Niigata Prefecture and other parts of Japan.


After the war, Fukui Prefecture took over the production of Koshihikari, a new variety of rice made from a combination of good-tasting rice and disease-resistant rice grown in Shinnosu before the war. Although it had some disadvantages, such as a long backstrap that made it prone to collapse and a susceptibility to rice blast, its overwhelmingly good taste and quality led to its nationwide production. It has become the standard for the taste of rice in the market today.

History

Number one in production since 1979. It was born in 1956. Since 1979, it has maintained the top position in production volume by variety.

Features

The disadvantage is that it is susceptible to rice blast hospital. It is sweet and sticky, and has the best gloss and aroma. The weakness against rice blast is compensated for by the way it is grown. The way it is grown makes up for it.


Hitomebore, a rice born in Miyagi Prefecture that is resistant to cold damage


Hitomebore is a variety that was developed to suit the climate of Miyagi.

In the past, Sasanishiki was the main variety grown in the Miyagi area, but the record-breaking cold summer of 1993 resulted in a poor harvest.

Hitomebore is very resistant to cold damage, and this led to the production of Hitomebore in the Tohoku region.

Hitomebore has a good balance of sweetness and stickiness and is grown all over Japan.

History

It was born in 1991 as a result of the severe cold damage in 1980, in an effort to produce a variety that is resistant to cold.

Features

It is resistant to cold damage, and its taste is inherited from its parent, Koshihikari, making it easy to match with any dish.


Hinohikari” Changed the Image of Rice in Western Japan


This variety of rice was bred in Miyazaki Prefecture to be as delicious as Koshihikari rice. It was bred in Miyazaki Prefecture to be as tasty as Koshihikari rice. The taste was thoroughly pursued by using a method of heating the rice in small beakers and selecting the ones with the best luster. It is said to be superior to Koshihikari in taste, with its deep luster, aroma, and strong stickiness, and is widely grown in western Japan, especially in Kyushu.

History

It was first bred in Miyazaki in 1989. Its cultivation spread mainly in western Japan, and it has become the third largest crop in Japan.

Features

The rice is slightly smaller than Koshihikari, but it has the umami taste, aroma, and stickiness of rice, and can be used in any cuisine.


Akitakomachi, Akiyu’s rice that overcomes the weaknesses of Koshihikari


This variety of rice was created by crossing Koshihikari with “Hane 292,” which is resistant to disease and cold, in order to produce rice that inherits the good qualities of Koshihikari, which could not be grown in Akita because of the cold weather. The rice is named after the poet Ono Komachi, who is said to have been born in Yuzawa City, Akita Prefecture, and has a beautiful luster and firmness, symbolizing the beauty of Akita.

History

<div><br class=”Apple-interchange-newline”>It was born in 1984, after a series of breeding efforts to select seeds suited to the Akita region. It has a tough texture. It was named Akitakomachi.</div>

Features

It has a strong aroma and sweet taste, and a sticky texture. It is delicious freshly cooked or even when it is cold.


Nanatsuboshi” has a luster and stickiness never before seen in Hokkaido rice.


This is the most popular variety produced in Hokkaido today. It combines the characteristics of “Akiho,” which is resistant to disease and cold, and “Hitomebore,” which inherits the delicious taste of Koshihikari. It is also descended from a variety called “National Treasure Rose,” which a researcher found by chance in California on a trip to Hokkaido, and is characterized by a luster and firmness that has never been seen before in Hokkaido rice.

History

It was born in 2001. In the 2010 food quality rankings, it was the first Hokkaido rice to receive a special A ranking.

Features

It is strong in cold weather and can be harvested in large quantities. It has a moderate stickiness and sweetness that makes it crispy and keeps its flavor long even when it is cold.


Haenuki, rice for Yamagata, adapted to the climate


Yamagata Prefecture has many basins and a large difference in temperature between day and night. HAYENUKI is a variety that was developed by taking into account the climate and climate of Yamagata. For this reason, it is not widely grown outside of Yamagata Prefecture. The rice is firm and fluffy, and does not lose its flavor even when cold, so it is widely used for business lunches and rice balls.

History

平成3(1991)年に山形県で育成。いもち病に弱かったササニシキにかわり、県の主力品種に。ねばりと歯ごたえがあります。

Features

Bred in Yamagata Prefecture in 1991. Replaced Sasanishiki, which was susceptible to rice blast, as the prefectural mainstay variety. Stiff and crunchy.


Kinuhikari, developed for the Kanto region but popular in the Kansai region


Research on the Hokuriku-born Kinuhikari began in 1975. At the time, the rice grown in Hokuriku was prone to falling over, so the goal was to create a variety with a short stature that would be resistant to falling over. The silky sheen and refreshing taste are especially favored by sushi and Japanese restaurants, and the rice is produced mainly in the Kansai region.

History

It was born at the Hokuriku Agricultural Experiment Station in Niigata Prefecture in 1988, and it took 13 years to reach the target rice.

Features

The whiteness and brightness of the cooked rice surpasses that of Koshihikari. The sweetness increases while remaining soft even after cooling.


Special “Mashigura” rice, a cross between two rices born in Tohoku


Aomori’s brand of rice, “Mashigura,” was born in 2006, and is widely grown in Aomori Prefecture, where it accounts for 60% of the rice planted. It is a cross between the mother “Ou 341” and the father “Yamagata 40,” both of which were born in the Tohoku region, and is very well suited to the climate of the region. It is resistant to rice blast and produces a large amount of rice.

History

It was born in 2006. Aomori rice “Yumeakari” has been improved to be resistant to diseases and to produce more rice.

Features

Easy to grow in Aomori environment, resistant to blight and blast. The rice is white, glossy, and well-packed, with a light flavor.


Asahi no Yume” is suitable for double cropping with wheat.


It was born in Aichi Prefecture, but is produced mainly in the Kanto region. Since it is harvested about two weeks later than Koshihikari, this rice is used for double cropping in the southern part of Gunma and Tochigi prefectures, where it is grown after wheat is harvested. Since it is resistant to disease, does not easily break down, tastes good, and produces a lot of rice, it is often used for commercial purposes such as lunch boxes.

History

Bred in Aichi Prefecture in 1996. Bred in 2007. Encouraged not only in Aichi Prefecture but also in Tochigi Prefecture in 2000.

Features

Rice with an inherent sweetness is resistant to blight and blast. The rice is slightly large and has a light, refreshing taste with an inherent sweetness.


Yumepirika, the culmination of Hokkaido rice’s pursuit of deliciousness


Yumebirika is the culmination of Hokkaido’s continuous breeding efforts to create a rice variety that is not only resistant to cold weather but also delicious. Yumebirika is the culmination of the efforts of Hokkaido’s breeders to create a rice variety that is not only resistant to heat but also delicious. It is characterized by its low amylose content, stickiness and sweetness.

History

It has been ranked “Special A” for eight consecutive years. In the food quality ranking, it has been ranked Special A for eight consecutive years since 2010.

Features

The rice is thicker and more plentiful than other types of rice. Only the rice that meets the standards for protein content, etc. can be used for Yumebirika.


Koishibuki Rice


A variety from Niigata Prefecture that is a cross between Hitomebore and Domanyaka, both of which have Koshihikari as a parent. The height of the rice is about 10 cm shorter than Koshihikari, making it easy to grow.


Kimusume Rice


This variety, which is descended from Kinuhikari, is characterized by the gloss and whiteness of the finished rice. It is grown in the Chugoku region, including Shimane Prefecture, which has the largest production volume, Tottori Prefecture, and Okayama Prefecture.


Tsuyahime Rice


Yamagata’s plump rice, born from “Kame-no-o,” the rice that is the root of the deliciousness of Koshihikari and Haenuki. The number of growers is limited in the prefecture.
Yume TsukushiA Fukuoka-born variety of rice that is a cross between the delicious Koshihikari and the robust and easy-to-cultivate Kinuhikari. It has a high gloss and stickiness, and is highly regarded for its taste.


Tsugaru Roman Rice


This rice is produced mainly in the Tsugaru region of Aomori Prefecture. It is not only resistant to cold and disease, but also inherits the sweetness and umami of Koshihikari and Akitakomachi.


Aichino Kaori Rice


A large variety that has been popular in Aichi since 1988. Later breeding improved its resistance to rice diseases and reduced the use of agricultural chemicals.


Aya no Kagayaki Rice


A brand of rice that accounts for one-third of the total area planted in Saitama Prefecture. It is resistant to several pests and diseases, and the use of agricultural chemicals can be reduced. It is widely used for school lunches in the prefecture.


Kirara Rice


Born in 1989. This variety has changed the image of Hokkaido rice. It has a firm texture and a sweet taste that spreads as you chew.


Fusakogane Rice


An original rice produced in Chiba Prefecture in 2006. It is resistant to both high temperatures and cold damage, and does not easily succumb to typhoons. The grain is large and sticky.

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