Entrepreneur checks on ‘Shibuya gal’ rice farm

AKITA (Kyodo) Young entrepreneur Shiho Fujita, known for her trademark “Shibuya gal” look, has caught media attention by starting up a rice farm. And her latest visit to her paddies in the village of Ogata, Akita Prefecture, to check out the crop has her back in the spotlight.

At first glance, Fujita, 24, looks no different from many other girls walking in the streets of the Shibuya district in Tokyo, the country’s fashion and entertainment center for young people.

Since starting up a marketing firm targeting young females at age 19, Fujita has grabbed the hearts of young girls. Currently, she is focusing on growing Akita rice and marketing it under the brand Shibuya Rice.

Fujita’s rice farming project is dubbed Nogyaru — a combination of “nogyo” (“agriculture”) and “gyaru”(“girls”)

“I forgot to put sunscreen on,” Fujita said as she worked on her farm along with three other young women, wearing colorful boots and gloves for the work.

Their appearance caught the attention of local high school girls.

“This is totally new. Girls like models are farming,” said Kana Sato, 18, as she watched them work.

Rural areas have long seen young people fleeing to cities after they reach working age and the number of young farmers keeps falling with no end in sight. This is one of the reasons why some farmers decided to lease 24 hectares of paddies to Fujita.