Hiroba Newsletter



 *Hiroba is the Japanese word meaning an open space or public square 

May 2010 Edition

Website of the Consulate-General of Japan, Perth WA : http://www.perth.au.emb-japan.go.jp/

Ta-ue: Rice planting 

May is an important time of the year for the staple food which sustains Japan's extremely large population. Grown from seed, rice shoots are transplanted when they are big enough to paddy fields throughout the country in May. Although the planting period does vary depending on the region of Japan, most planting is carried out around May. Harvesting takes place in September.

These days, the transplanting of rice shoots (known as ta-ue) is carried out by machinery. However, in the olden days, whole village communities would work together to plant the shoots one at a time by hand, which turned out to be back-breaking work.

In a twist on the traditional rice planting, over the past decade, a trend of rice field art has emerged at rice paddies throughout Japan. Hundreds of thousands of rice plants are used to create huge displays depicting samurai, television characters, even the popular anime character, Doraemon. Four differently coloured varieties of rice, including purple and yellow-leafed Kodaimai rice and green-leafed Tsugaru rice are strategically planted by hand in the paddy fields, then as summer progresses the detailed artwork emerges. 

This trend of rice paddy art began in 1993 in Inakadate, Aomori Prefecture as a local revitalization project, where a simple design was re-created annually for the first nine years. As the murals gained attention, the designs became more complicated and technical and in 2005, agreements between landowners facilitated the creation of this art form on a massive scale. Computers were eventually used from 2006 to precisely plot the planting of each individual rice  plant so that the intricate details of each picture could come to life. Rice paddy art is now a local tourist attraction in Inakadate. The below mural is of the incredibly famous woodblock print entitled, The Breaking Wave Off Kanagawa from the series Thirty-six Views of Fuji by Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) which shows Mt Fuji framed by a large wave.


Before: people strategically planting rice plants (May)               After: rice plants have grown and reveal the artwork (August)

                                                                  © Inakadate Village, Aomori Prefecture                                                                                                                                             


The Fourth International Manga Awards

The Fourth International Manga Awards Evaluation Committee is now accepting entries for the above mentioned manga Awards. These awards were created for the purpose of conveying Japanese pop culture and promoting understanding towards Japan, by acknowledging manga artists who are contributing to the spread of manga culture overseas.

Entries close on 31st May, 2010. For further details, please see the below link to the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan:


Japanese Government Scholarships for 2011

Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Monbukagakusho) is offering scholarships to Australian citizens who wish to study at Japanese universities from 2011. The application period for the following two categories is now open:
  1. Research category: for Australian citizens who have graduated from university or are in their final year of university (tenable for 2 years from April 2011, or 18 months from October 2011).
  2. Undergraduate category: for Australian citizens who are aged between 17 and 21 years, and have completed year 12 to matriculation standard (tenable for 5 years).

Applications for the above two categories close on 15th June 2010

Further details and application forms are available on The Embassy of Japan in Australia website:


2010 International Essay Contest for Young People

If you are up to 25 years of age, are skilled at writing and wish to express your ideas for peace in this world, we have the perfect creative outlet for you! 

How about entering a worldwide youth essay contest organised by the Goi Peace Foundation and UNESCO, endorsed by the Japanese government's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation and the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education?

This year's essay topic is: "My Role in Creating a Peaceful World". The contest is open to children (up to 14 years of age) and youth (15-25 years of age). Essays must be 800 words or less in English, or 1600 characters or less in Japanese and can be submitted by post or email. Prizes include certificates, money and gifts. Entries must be received by 30th June, 2010.

If you are interested in entering this essay contest, please see the following site for more information:


WA Government Japanese Studies Scholarships for 2011

Each year, the Department of Education Services of the government of Western Australia offers two scholarships to study at a tertiary institution in Japan to young students or graduates who have training and/or experience in a professional discipline, as well as an understanding of the Japanese language. The Western Australian Japanese Studies Scholarship and the Western Australian/Hyogo Prefecture Japanese Studies Scholarship provide Western Australians with the opportunity to spend up to one year studying in Japan, with the hope that contacts and professional ties can be forged between Japan and the State.

The deadline for applications is 12th July, 2010. For further information about these two scholarships including guidelines, application forms and selection criteria, please click on the following link:



Consulate-General News 

The Consul-General's Visit to Albany for Anzac Day Festivities

The Consul-General Mr Torao Sato recently made a special visit to Albany in the south of Western Australia to attend three Anzac Day-related celebrations.

Smithson Media hosted the Official Report Launch of HIJMS Ibuki - Japan's Forgotten Link to the ANZAC Legend at Dog Rock Convention Centre on 24th April. Supported by the Australia-Japan Foundation of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, this event presented research findings into the role of the Japanese battle cruiser HIJMS (His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Ship) Ibuki in the naval escort of the Australian and New Zealand Expeditionary Forces to Gallipoli at the beginning of World War I in 1914. Special guests at this event included the Hon. Barry House MLC (President of the Legislative Council), Hon. Robyn McSweeney MLC (Minister for Child Protection; Community Services; Seniors and Volunteering; Women's Interests - Member for South West), Hon. Peter Watson MLA (Member for Albany), Mathias Cormann and Dr Chris Back (Senators for WA) and Captain Brett Dowsing (RAN Commanding Officer HMAS Stirling Naval Base).

Also on the afternoon of 24th April, the City of Albany held a Dedication Ceremony to mark the completion of its new ANZAC Peace Park on the foreshore of Princess Royal Harbour. The ANZAC Peace Park Opening ceremony was hosted by the mayor of Albany, His Worship the Mayor Milton J Evans JP, as well as the City's councillors. This special ceremony was attended by the Hon. Colin Barnett, Premier of Western Australia, Mr Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, representing the Federal government and some members of the Consular Corps including Mr Torao Sato, Consul-General of Japan.

Rounding up the Consul-General's visit to Albany was the Anzac Day Dawn Service on the summit of Mt Clarence on 25th April (Anzac Day). The Albany sub-branch of the RSL (Returned & Services League of Australia) holds this event annually at Mount Clarence, which was the site of Australia's first official dawn service and as such has special significance in Australia's military heritage. 

Consul-General Mr Sato with Smithson Media Director Ms Denise Smithson and RAN Commanding Officer Captain Brett Dowsing at the HIJMS Ibuki launch


The Third Australia-China-Japan Symposium on Bioengineering, Biotherapeutic and Health Sciences

On Wednesday 28th April, the Official Welcome of The Third Australia-China-Japan Symposium on Bioengineering, Biotherapeutic and Health Sciences was held at the University Club of Western Australia at UWA. 

Hosted by the university's Vice-Chancellor Professor Alan Robson and attended by the Hon Bill Marmion (Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier), Japanese Consul-General Mr Torao Sato, Chinese Consul-General Mr Shugang Li and other dignitaries, the event officially opened the forum on research collaboration between three universities. Consul-General Mr Sato delivered a speech alongside other dignitaries. 

The universities with this valuable trilateral partnership are The University of Western Australia, Zhejiang University (China) and Kobe University (Japan) whose contributions are: medical research; regenerative medicine and access to clinical trials; and bio-engineering respectively. The purpose of this trilateral collaboration is to develop new health science and bioengineering initiatives for the ageing populations of these three nations and the rest of the world. 

Japan Brief

NB - Japan Brief is an original production of the Foreign Press Center, Japan ,and does not represent the views of the Government of Japan or that of any other body.

UN Security Council Holds Open Debate on Post-Conflict Peacebuilding

Nuclear Security Summit Agrees on Measures to Prevent Nuclear Terrorism

Indicators Point to Recovery of Japan's Economy

Review of Japan's Space Strategy Urged

Office Information  

Please note the Consulate-General will be closed on the following day:

Monday June 7: Foundation Day


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