Is anime making otaku eat less rice? Government launches Girl Running Late with Rice Ball Project

Japan’s top rice-growing prefecture designs character, releases two videos in hope of fixing anime breakfast trope.

Niigata is Japan’s top rice-grower, and the prefectural government is anxious about Japan’s per-capita rice consumption taking place. There are several possible reasons for this. For one, Japan’s culinary culture has turn into increasingly diverse over the past few many years, with non-rice dishes that originated abroad now a standard a part of Japanese people’s meal mixes. Supermarkets and convenience stores are also more prevalent and open longer than they was once, making it easier to maintain your own home conveniently and affordably stocked with quite a lot of ingredients, lessening the necessity for rice to make up as large a portion of any individual meal because it was once.

But the federal government of Niigata has found what it thinks is one more reason for lower rice consumption: anime.

“Is it the fault of that anime scene?” asks the Niigata Prefectural government.

Watch enough anime (or Japanese dramas), and eventually there’ll be a scene where a personality, generally a schoolgirl or office employee, has overslept. “Oh no, I’m going to be late!” they shout, before we cut to an exterior shot of their home they usually come bursting out the front door as they make a mad dash to highschool or the office. Obviously there’s no time for a leisurely sit-down breakfast, and so their go-to on-the-go morning meal is, just about without exception, a bit of toast, which they hold of their mouth as they run.

It’s a time-honored storytelling trope, quickly conveying that the character is in over their heads of their current situation, but still doing all they’ll to try to maintain it together. But while anime enthusiasts are acquainted with the scene, Niigata thinks this may be turning young people off from eating rice at breakfast, as explained in the next statement:

In Niigata Prefecture’s evaluation of why [rice consumption is dropping], we arrived on the hypothesis that manga and anime, that are deeply engrained in Japanese culture, are influencing the situation.

What we speak of is the “Girl Running Late with a Piece of Bread,” or the scenes by which a student, office lady, or salaryman who overslept runs while holding a bit of bread of their mouth. Often, the scene includes the feminine character falling in love as she rounds a corner.

We consider that repeated viewing of such scenes could also be forming a picture in viewers’ minds that ‘breakfast = bread,’ and causing them to be less more likely to eat rice at breakfast.

And so Niigata has decided to fight fire with fire, or anime schoolgirls with anime schoolgirls, by launching the Girl Running Late with a Rice Ball Project.

By creating, and inspiring others to create, scenes of anime schoolgirls running to highschool with a musubi/onigiri (each Japanese words for rice ball) in her mouth, the prefecture may also help shift perceptions. If an anime heroine can eat a rice ball prior to crashing into her one true love, magical girl power-granting animal familiar, or whatever other fateful encounter will kick off that arc of the story, possibly viewers will think “Hey, I could eat rice for breakfast too!”

That’s the plan, anyway, and because the Girl Running Late with a Piece of Bread trope also shows up in Japanese TV dramas, the project has also recruited actress Manami Igashira to seem as a live-action Girl Running Late with a Rice Ball in the primary of a planned series of video shorts.

The musubi are, after all, made with Niigata-grown rice, in line with the video, which also says they’re katsu (pork cutlet) rice balls. This can be a reasonably unusual form of rice ball, but it allows the video so as to add a pun, something Japan loves almost as much as anime and earnest schoolgirls, since katsu may mean “victory” in Japanese, and the video is trying to determine katsu rice balls as a superb luck charm for teenagers taking school entrance exams.

Reactions up to now have been mixed, with comments for the videos including :

“Nice. Rice culture is a component of Japan.”
“It looks just like the actress is having a extremely hard time running with a rice ball stuffed in her mouth.”
“Katsu rice balls sound like a seriously heavy breakfast.”
“What a dumb, fun idea!”
“Go for it, you idiots!”
“How a few Girl Running Late with a Sushi Roll?”
“I believe I’m gonna have rice for breakfast tomorrow.”

There are, nevertheless, just a few things Niigata Prefecture will not be taking into consideration regarding the Girl Running Late with a Piece of Bread scenes. First, in practical terms, it’s way easier to clamp down on a bit of toast as you run to the station than it’s a rice ball. That’s because rice balls aren’t really balls in any respect, but a really large variety of individual grains of rice pressed together. While a rice ball will delay just advantageous in your hand, if it’s jostling around as you hold it in your teeth during a dead sprint it’s probably going to crumble pretty quickly and also you’ll spill your breakfast all around the asphalt.

The even greater issue, though, is that when you’ll see loads of Girls Running Late with a Piece of Bread in anime, you won’t actually see any in real life. Very like all-powerful student councils and simple rooftop access, running to highschool with a bit of bread in your mouth is one in all those anime tropes that isn’t a case of art imitating life, so it stays to be seen if the Girl Running Late with a Rice Ball Project will result in life imitating art.

Source: PR Times via Teny via Hachima Kiko, YouTube/新潟米PR【公式】 (1, 2)
Top image: PR Times
Insert images: YouTube/新潟米PR【公式】, PR Times
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