Wataribune - the revival of an Heirloom Sake Rice Varietal


When we become parents, we aim to raise children who surpass us, who achieve the goals we had always dreamed of achieving, who outshine us in all the ways that matter.   For many of us, we experience parenthood like passing the baton, we give our children everything we’ve got and then we fade off into the distance of history.  On occasion we, the aging parents, manage a comeback, find a way to achieve success later down the line.  

Well, this story isn’t just synonymous with humans, it is even a tale known to the world of Sake rice.  

Yamada-nishiki once became the medal winning, athletic, spelling bee champion, all around achieving child of its parents Wataribune (Tankan Wataribune, a variety native to Shiga Prefecture) and Yamadaho.  The union of Yamadaho and Tankan Wataribune was commenced in 1923 when the two were cross bred for the first time by researcher Shigeharu Nishiumi in Hyogo prefecture.  By 1936, the rice had been fully developed for cultivation and the golden child was named Yamada-nishiki.