Before I watched Rice on Stage, I honestly didn’t know there was so many different kinds of rice. After I watched the stage I was interested to know if they all really did exist and if their types had any impact on their looks and personality in the stage. I looked into this and did a little research, and I’m posting the results of that research here.
If reading this post makes you want to see more, the first stage is currently available for streaming on various sites online and the DVD for the second will be released soon. Please support this production because it’s fun and amazing and I want them to be able to do more stages.
In the stage, Love Rice are the “underdogs” of the school as they are all based on common types of rice found in Japan. But if you look into their types, they are all basically descended from each other in one way or another, which in the stage seems to indicate that they’re stronger when they’re all together.
Hinohikari’s name comes from a combination of the kanji 日 to represent Western Japan where the rice is from, and the word “hikari” to represent how the rice shines when the sunlight hits it. Looking at its characteristics, it’s… really not the best rice. It tastes good but is difficult to grow and weak against disease. If you look at Hinohikari in the stage, with his stubborn determination but complete lack of much strength or intelligence, it’s obvious to see the connection between the character and the actual rice.
Sasanishiki is a type of rice from Miyagi which is often used for sushi as it retains its flavour even when it cools down. It was once the most popular type of rice used in Japan but growing it was hard because it was weak to the cold, and it almost died out for a while. I can see why his character in the stage is such a serious, bitter dude.
Hitomebore was developed as a rice with good flavour and resistance to the cold. Love Kome‘s Hitomebore often mentions how good the weather is. By the way, the name “hitomebore” means “to fall in love at first sight” in Japanese and the rice was given that name with that kind of feeling. If you like your shipping, there is a variety of rice that was bred from Sasanishiki and Hitomebore (good taste but also good in cold weather!). Just thought I’d bring that up.
Akitakomachi is as the name suggests, an original variety of rice produced in Akita prefecture. It is descended from Koshihikari rice which comes from Fukui. In the anime version of Love Kome, the character Akitakomachi is searching for his real parents, and in the stage that search takes him to Fukui. This confuses the other members because of his name, but looking at the rice’s history the reason his roots are in Fukui becomes obvious.
Nikomaru is a reasonably new variety of rice that was grown in the mountains of Kochi. It’s full name is “Nikomaru of Tosa, Home of the Heavens” (Tosa is the old name for the area where Kochi is located). The name comes from it’s ability to make someone smile from its good taste (“niko”) and its round shape (“maru”). Despite being new it managed to win a competition for the best rice. With his round features and cute smile, I think they cast this role perfectly in the stage.
The Star Rice members are all varieties of upland rice, which is grown on dry land rather than in water. Because they can survive these conditions they are known to be “wild and strong” which is the motto of the group in the stage. However, it is rumoured that breeding of this kind of rice will be discontinued because selective breeding is hard to continue, and so their true motto is “Wild and strong, but sorrowful.”
Nerica’s name stands for “New Rice for Africa” and was developed as a way of helping Africa to produce more of its own rice rather than having to import from other countries. It was produced by mixing the bases of the Asian rice and African rice together, so he’s quite a mix of nationalities and is genetically modified unlike the other naturally grown rice. It’s very resistant to the heat and has a very low water uptake so it can grow easily in dry conditions. In the stage, Nerica’s “power” is that he can store water and use it against enemies. This was one of the first I looked up when I saw the stage, and still the most intriguing for me.
Hirayama rice comes from a tiny tiny city called Hino in Kanto but spread to the rest of Japan from there. The people there are really proud of their rice. There is a monument to the farmer who created it on the “history walk” in Hino City. Since selective breeding has advanced this breed of rice is no longer produced, but the Principal of the elementary school in the area wants to revive it. Hirayama is the perfect example of “Wild and strong, but sorrowful.”
Toyohatamochi & Kiyohatamochi
These two are together because they are basically “brothers”, both coming from Ibaraki Prefecture and both very similar. Overall, Kiyohatamochi seems to be the stronger brother, which makes sense because in the stage he has such a strong attitude and is always bullying Toyohatamochi.
What interested me most about this type of rice when I researched it was that it is known to be late blooming and if you use the kanji in human terms it can mean “shy person” or “slow maturer”. In the stage, the character is always very timid, and known to be weaker and slower than the others when it comes to their training.
(Yes, there are three of them. The official site took out the image of Murasakiyouki because he wasn’t in the last stage, and I can’t find the version with all three of them on anywhere.)
Known as the group with the “graceful image”, Gazen Boys members are all named after varieties of “kodaimai” (ancient rice) and in particular, those that are known as ornamental rice (for looking at, not for eating). It’s also the most mysterious it seems because finding out any information was virtually impossible.
The kanji in Shirozuikou’s name basically translates as “beautiful white light”. As expected, the rice is known for being tall, and for being refined and beautiful. When I was searching for information on this rice I came across pictures of this flower “zuikou” which bears a striking resemblance to the character.
Kurotaikou is a variety of black rice. The “taikou” in his name is a title which refers to a regent or chief advisor and can also refer to someone who takes on the role of ruler because the monarch can’t for whatever reason. In the stage, the leader of Gazen Boys is Shirozuiko who is lazy and has no motivation, and Kurotaikou is the one leading him along and making sure their image of grace remains.
Not only could I not find the group picture with him in, literally the only information that I could find out about Murasakiyouki is that he is from China. What a mysterious guy. I will continue to work hard to bring more information in the future, but for now you’re just going to have to enjoy his cute face.
Ignore me for a moment while I move completely away from rice and talk about birds. “Aigamo” is the Japanese name for what we commonly know as a mallard duck. Why, you might ask, are there ducks hanging around with rice? The answer is quite simple really. Rice grows on water and water is where ducks live. In fact, here you can see some ducks doing just that.
In the second stage, Freekeh is the “villian” who is aiming to replace Japan’s rice with his own “super grain” made from durum wheat (I bring this up in particular because in the stage he forms a band called Durum Durum along with brainwashed Shirozuiko and Kurotaiko). Freekeh is an ancient grain and used in the Middle East for centuries but only recently started gaining popularity as a health food. In the stage, Freekeh is the sister of Quinoa which is a super food that has been popular for a long time. Freekeh was bitter that his younger sister was more popular than he was and set out to make his own mark on the food business.