It always rains the following day when facing troubles concerning water.
The Itagakis, originating with Itagaki Yahei, are farmers based in Shonai. The family has been cultivating rice crops since the 1840’s. The president of Dewashonaitokusan, LLC, Mr. Hiroshi Itagaki, tells us this story. “There were few water thefts. Actually, stealing water from a farm pond still happens. In most cases, after this kind of trouble, it always rains on the morrow; meaning, ‘The thief should have waited for rain just one more day.’” A very long time ago, bloodshed over water occurred among locals in one of the neighboring areas. “As I heard, it was also raining on the following day. Because of the incident, people cut off the relationship with the village and kept saying not to marry women from there.” Nobody is sure whether it was actually raining on the following day, but it’s noteworthy that people considered troubles related to water were an evil and a taboo.
At age eighteen, after high school graduation, Mr. Itagaki took over the family business. Back then, rice farmers had power and cooperated with each other. “In each village, there was a powerful leader, backed by the result of producing a large amount of rice. Younger farmers worked as per their orders, including maintaining the Bansui system; thus many things came to fruition. We wonder why these relations are fading these days.” An increase in the number of part-time farmers, price declines because of liberalization, and decreasing respect for elders, Mr. Itagaki deplored the current condition. “We should heed the use of water in the manner we did before, and I want to pass it on to next generations.”