National Geographic : 1945 Dec
The National Geographic Magazine Stanr notograpner w. iooert Moore This Was a Part of Hiroshima B. A. A. (Before Atomic Age) Wooden homes with paper windows perch on the stone walls above a branch of the Ota River near Hiroshima Castle. In the distance is one of its numerous steel bridges and some of its concrete buildings part of which withstood the atomic assault. This view was made north of the area shown on page 763. many hills, so steep that rains have caused landslides, the Japanese patiently build nar row terraces and plant more trees. Japan's forests provide her with an abun dance of timber, charcoal, wood fuel, wood pulp, and other necessaries. Especially her bamboo growths have a multitude of uses; the tender bamboo shoots are an important source of food. Despite the limited arable lands in the country and the emergence of Japan as an industrial nation, about one-half of her people are tillers of the soil. Working largely with spades, hoes, and other simple tools, and sometimes using a horse or ox to haul a crude plow, these rural folk cultivate the land to its utmost. No spot, however small, which will support a few spears of grain or a handful of vegetables is ignored. So small are the majority of farms through out the home islands that the Japanese peasant might almost be classed as a gardener rather than a farmer. For centuries farmers of the country have specialized in rice. More than half of all the total cultivated area is devoted to this single crop. Plains and narrow valleys are covered with an elaborate patchwork pattern of ter raced and diked rice fields (page 760). Unwearying in their patience and toil, the farm folk-men, women, and children-work in the fields plowing, transplanting, irrigating, and harvesting this honorable grain. Some hill terraces are so tiny that they look as if they might be tended by children at play. Wherever drainage and climate permit, fields are made to yield two crops a year. In many places, as soon as rice has been har vested, the fields are "ridged" (spaded into a series of parallel ridges and troughs) and the ridges sown to crops of wheat, barley, beans, or rape. In some districts, too, even between the fall rice harvest and sowing of winter cereals, the fields are planted with additional quick maturing crops, such as giant radishes (daikon) and eggplants.