Ryoji Kikura "Honorary Town Citizen of Hokuryu Town" Celebration Held, Honoring the 5th person in 31 years to be honored in Hokuryu Town.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

On Saturday, March 25, 2023, at 4:00 p.m., a celebration for Ryoji Kikura as an honorary town resident was held at Sunflower Park Hokuryu Onsen. 116 townspeople participated in the grand celebration and honored Mr. Kikura.

Mr. Ryoji Kikura is the fifth Honorary Town Citizen of Hokuryu Town in 31 years. The previous honorary residents of Hokuryu Town were Mr. Mitsuo Goto, Mr. Asao Murakami, Mr. Sakuzo Matsubara, and Mr. Shoichi Mori.

Celebration! Ryoji Kikura "Honorary Town Citizen of Hokuryu Town" Celebration

promoter(Titles omitted)

  • Yutaka Sano, Mayor of Hokuryu Town
  • Yasuhiro Sasaki, Chairman, Hokuryu Town Council
  • Kitasorachi Agricultural Cooperative, Hirokuni Kitakiyo
    Hokuryu District Representative Director
  • Masahito Fujii, Chairman of Commerce and Industry, Hokuryu Town
  • Shigeki Mizutani, Chairman of Agricultural Commissioner, Hokuryu Town
  • Junichi Fukase, Chairman, Hokuryu Land Improvement District
Celebration! Ryoji Kikura "Honorary Town Citizen of Hokuryu Town" Celebration
Certificate of Honorary Town Resident
116 people at 10 tables filled the hall.

The general chairperson and facilitator was Hajime Namba, Manager of the General Affairs Division of the Hokuryu Town Hall.

Greeting: Mr. Yutaka Sano, Mayor of Hokuryu Town

Greetings from Mayor Yutaka Sano

I would like to thank all of you for taking time out of your busy public and private lives to attend the celebration for Mr. Ryoji Kikura in spite of the bad weather and the end-of-year spring work.

We had originally planned to hold this meeting last November, but due to concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus infection, we had to refrain from holding it. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.

With the recommendation of the Agricultural Cooperative Association and the kindness of the heads of various agricultural organizations, we nominated Mr. Ryoji Kikura as an honorary town resident at the 3rd regular session of the 2022 Diet, and received unanimous approval from the Cabinet of Councilors.

Up to now, there have been four Honorary Citizens of Hokuryu Town. Mr. Mitsuo Goto, Mr. Asao Murakami, Mr. Sakuzo Matsubara, and Mr. Shoichi Mori became honorary residents in October 1971, and Mr. Kikura became the fifth in June 1991.

Ryoji Kikura has been engaged in a wide range of activities such as firefighting and youth league service to the community, and sports promotion through athletics, while working in his family's agricultural business upon graduation from high school. He received the award at the young age of 30 in 1971.

In 1973, he became a director of the Hokuryu Agricultural Cooperative Association. As a pioneer of clean agriculture in the town, he has worked to spread the use of natural farming methods that do not use any herbicides, chemical fertilizers, or pesticides.

Mr. Kikura's agricultural efforts stimulated young farmers, and in 1988, at the suggestion of the agricultural cooperative youth club, the town, the improvement district, and the agricultural committee each issued a declaration declaring safe food production that protects the lives and health of the people, and in 1990, the town, the improvement district, and the agricultural committee each issued a declaration.

Since then, based on the philosophy that "food is life," the company has worked to create agricultural and farming communities that aim to enrich people's minds and bodies through agriculture and agricultural cooperative activities. This practice has permeated the cooperative's membership, and the basis of production has become the commitment to clean agriculture, and efforts have been made to improve the reputation of the production area, including the designation of "Hokuryu-machi rice Kirara 397" as a special A district.

The town was also actively involved in consumer exchanges, and made efforts to market Hokuryu rice by designating 100% of its rice as a production area.

These efforts built the foundation of today's Hokuryu Sunflower Rice, which was awarded the Grand Prize in the Collective Organization category of the 46th Japan Agricultural Awards in 2017 (Heisei 29). Hokuryu Sunflower Rice" has received high acclaim both within and outside of Hokkaido for its distinctive rice production, and has become popular as a hometown tax return gift.

Mr. Kikura has been advocating the need for a wide-area merger since he became the head of the cooperative, and as a result, the "Kita Sorachi Agricultural Cooperative Association" was established in February 2000 by eight agricultural cooperatives in Kita Sorachi, and he became the Representative Director and Senior Managing Director of the association. In June 2002, he began to demonstrate his ability as the head of the cooperative, and in April 2007, he retired.

After retiring from the board of directors of an agricultural cooperative, he is still active as a "farmer" and serves as an auditor for the "Hokkaido Organic Farming Research Association".

We hope that you and your wife will relax your shoulders a little, and we look forward to your continued good health and guidance. I would like to conclude my remarks on behalf of the promoter by wishing all of you present good health and happiness. I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to you today.

Words of praise in honor of

Congratulatory speech: Mr. Yasuhiro Sasaki, Chairman of the Hokuryu Town Council

Congratulatory speech by Mr. Yasuhiro Sasaki, Chairman of the Hokuryu Town Council

This time, upon the recommendation of the council, the agricultural cooperative, the chamber of commerce and industry, and the land improvement district, we decided at the regular meeting last September to recommend an honorary township resident among the most important matters to be voted on. In deciding on the timing of the celebration, we had originally planned to hold it before the end of the year, but due to the Corona Vortex situation, it was decided to hold the celebration today.

My father and Mr. Kikura and I have had a long relationship for 60/70 years.

Mr. Kikura established an ekiden club when he was a young man, and there is a record that he participated in the North Sorachi Ekiden as the Sasaki team and finished in third place.

When my father was the chairman of commerce and industry and Mr. Kikura was the head of the Hokuryu Agricultural Cooperative Association, my father asked Mr. Kikura to have the association president attend the general meeting of the commerce and industry association, and he readily agreed to do so. Since that time, the association president has attended the annual New Year's meeting of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This has continued to this day.

At that time, it was unthinkable for the head of an agricultural cooperative association to attend a general meeting of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (the Chamber of Commerce and Industry). I remember that it was astonishing news throughout Sorachi and Hokkaido. I am grateful that we have come through many things.

One of the world's most famous novels is Tolstoy's War and Peace. This novel is based on the fact that France invaded Russia and fought a war. We are told that it was the reassuring will of the peasants who defended the land that firmly protected Russia from the war.

We feel that Mr. Kwangura is not only an "Honorary Townsman" but also an "Honorary Farmer of Japan". We have heard that he has spoken out in various parts of the world for peace.

I would like you to be not only Mr. Kikura of Hokuryu, but also "Mr. Kikura of Hokkaido, Mr. Kikura of Japan, and Mr. Kikura who speaks peace to the world.

We had hoped for this day. We congratulate you from the bottom of our hearts. Congratulations!

The life of Ryoji Kikura, a deserving honorary farmer

Congratulatory speech: Mr. Hirokuni Kitakiyo, Representative Director of Hokuryu District, Kitasorachi Agricultural Cooperative Association

Congratulatory speech by Hirokuni Kitakiyo, Representative Director of Kitasorachi Agricultural Cooperative Association, Hokuryu District

Congratulations to Mr. Kikura for being an honorary town resident. We congratulate you from the bottom of our hearts.

Mr. Kikura has served as a director of an agricultural cooperative for 34 years. Of those 34 years, 17 years were spent as a full-time member of the Hokuryu Agricultural Cooperative, and after the merger, he worked hard for 17 years as a full-time member of the Kitasorachi Agricultural Cooperative. We really appreciate his hard work.

I would like to tell you a little about Mr. Kikura's activities when we were young.

If you read the materials Mr. Kikura has prepared for us today, you will find it all written down, but I will tell you as much as I can remember.

This story is about 30 years ago, when I was in my 30s in the youth club. Mr. Kikura was speaking in front of us as a full-time member of the Hokuryu Agricultural Cooperative. I would like to introduce a few of the same stories he told us each time, which he called "Kikura's Record of Words".

Since I was young, I have heard these words many times: "Food is life," and "We must take good care of this mountain, these trees, these greens, and the abundant water that is supported by them, and our family must work together to produce safe food that protects our lives and health with all our hands, skills, and hearts.

At first I did not understand what he was talking about, but after Mr. Kikura explained it to me, I understood and we, the youth club, pushed forward to grow safe and secure rice.

Mr. Kikura has a variety of contacts and created many opportunities for us to meet and get to know our clients. We are grateful to Mr. Kikura for his many contacts, including Mineko Yamazaki, president of Makoto Corporation in Tokyo, Mitsuo Toyoda, general manager of Natural Co-op Yokohama, and Mizue Takai, who connected us with JA Okinawa. We still have a relationship with them as a direct seller of Sunflower Rice.

Also four years ago, in 2019, JA Himawari in Aichi Prefecture, with which we had a sisterhood when we were Hokuryu Agricultural Cooperative. There was a commemorative event for the 30th anniversary of the merger, and Mr. Kikura was invited there.

I accompanied him as a bag bearer. During the train ride, he was reading a book without wearing glasses. He was reading a book in the rocking train. I was really surprised.

After the 30th anniversary celebration, we were treated to a reception with Mr. Gonda, the president of the cooperative at the time, past presidents, and staff members, and although it lasted a little over an hour, Mr. Kikura spoke passionately from beginning to end about what the agricultural cooperative movement should be. I remember that his passion and energy were truly amazing. Mr. Kikura has always spoken with passion.

As the Mayor mentioned earlier, Mr. Mitsuo Goto, whom Mr. Kikura looked up to as a mentor, was nominated as an honorary town citizen in 1971, and Mr. Kikura was nominated as an honorary town citizen in 2024, which I feel a strong connection with. I sincerely believe that the way he lived his life by firmly following the teachings of Mr. Goto is something that we cannot easily do.

Mr. Kikura, you are now over 80 years old, so please take good care of your health and give us a passionate and enthusiastic talk.

I would like to congratulate the Kikura family and all of you, and wish you many happy years. Congratulations, Mr. Kikura!

Hokuryu Agricultural Cooperative Youth Club pushes forward by practicing the teachings of Ryoji Kikura

Acknowledgement: Mr. Ryoji Kikura

Acknowledgments by Ryoji Kikura

I have been ill with voice loss for 12 days, and the doctor at the clinic in Fukagawa City has made every effort to somehow get me to speak one more time today. Thank you very much. I know it is hard to hear, but I would like to thank you.

In 2007, when I resigned from the Kitasorachi Agricultural Cooperative, I was told by the new president, Yumi Hayasaki, that "you are following the years of honorary membership," but I declined, saying that "the main role of the cooperative is played by its members, not us officers and employees.

I was also asked several times by Mayor Sano to become an honorary citizen of the town. However, I have always valued the teachings of Mr. Mitsuo Goto, and I have refused, saying that I would like to follow his teachings, "Do not seek status, honor, or money," until the day I die.

One day, however, Hirokuni Kitakiyo, the district representative, and Shigeki Mizutani, the chairman of the Agricultural Committee, were present, and Mr. Mizutani said, "Mr. Kikura, we have been working hard to achieve what you have been saying: 'Food is life' and 'Farm work to protect the lives of the living. We are the ones who have been carrying out what you have been calling for, "a bridge of life between industry and commerce, and a bond of life between commerce and industry. Please accept this for us.

I have been saying "Kitakiyo Seinen" and "Mizutani Seinen," and I felt that "Oh, you have grown up," and I followed my children in receiving this award.

On March 9, Mr. Terauchi asked me to compile a book about your life, and I spent four and a half hours talking with him at his home. Mr. Terauchi compiled it into a booklet, which has become my treasure. Thank you very much.

When I was in the first grade, my body was so crooked. My mother could not produce milk after giving birth to me. When I entered the first grade of elementary school, I was diagnosed with malnutrition "rickets". I have never shown this picture to my children.

My grandfather provided us with one of his waste cows. He raised it by feeding it grass and squeezing its milk to protect the lives of his six children and their siblings. It really brought back to me the passion in my ancestors' hearts to think of their families and their children.

In 1954, the 5th Fukuryu Maru was exposed to an American hydrogen bomb test at Bikini Atoll, and Mr. Kuboyama died; in September, Typhoon Toya Maru, a year of great damage; in December, my real turning point came.

In December, I was advised by the agricultural cooperative to leave the farm. Mr. Kikura said, "Mr. Kikura, you can't cause any more trouble for your guarantor, please don't do this."

The Kikura family consisted of 12 members, including a frail uncle. My brother left home immediately, saying, "My life is not to be a peasant. Every night since then, his father and mother talked about how to live, and his mother said, "I have to die. In a house with only one shoji (paper sliding door), all the talk was heard through the pipes.

Eventually, Mr. Mitsuo Goto visited our home and said to my parents, "Leave Ryoji behind! I will guarantee you ammonium sulfate, quinic acid, and salt". If you don't feed him enmugi, the horse will die of leprosy. Mr. Kiyomatsu Sugimoto, a legitimate horse farmer, found out and told us that if we cut up two drums in a circle and buried them in the barn, cut up straw and put carbide (lime) dissolved in hot water and feed it to the horses after they had aged for a day, they would never get fat but would never get leggy.

With the help of these two men, the peasants began to pay off their debts.

I have never felt sad or miserable. Every time I met Mr. Goto, he would say, "Ryoji, work, be patient, being poor is nothing to be ashamed of. If you work hard, many people will surely see you. They will help you. They will take care of you and take care of good people.

I worship and respect Mr. Mitsuo Goto and continue to follow each of his words with great care.

On November 2, 1972, I was summoned by Mr. Mitsuo Hachi Goto. With his son Toru in attendance next to him, he said, "I will retire at the general meeting on March 11 next year. I would like to send out Mr. Toshihiro Nakamura.

Mr. Nakamura is a debt-free farmer of 2 towns and 8 fiefdoms, who at the age of 26 read the historic haiku, "Digging for snow, digging for soil, not even a head can be seen." At the time, there were calls to put Mr. Kumeya and Mr. Kikura on the board of directors of the agricultural cooperative.

Mr. Goto said, "I have heard that you are candidates. I am not opposed to your candidacy. If you are elected to the board of directors, you will remember the three things I say and demonstrate them well.

I am only going to middle school 60% of the time, and North Dragon High School about 20% of the time. You are not going to school. Therefore, don't drink, don't play pachinko, don't play, and when you have a little money, buy books. Read books. It will surely become your blood and flesh.

At that time, there was a shortage of rice, and the shift to new cultivation had begun. Soon there will be nothing left to eat in Japanese society. I want you to think about this, put it into practice, and make an effort to have it recognized by the union committee members so that it can be reflected in the demands of the agricultural cooperative.

Officers of agricultural cooperatives should not seek 'status, honor, and money. If you find yourself in such a situation, you should resign as an agricultural cooperative board member.

Mr. Goto would tell his son Toru-san that Ryoji could not drink at home, so he would give him a glass of sake and send him home. So when Mr. Goto's talk was over, Mr. Toru would always offer him a glass of sake, and while drinking it with him, Mr. Toru would explain to me how he wondered what my father was thinking when he was talking to Ryo-chan.

I visited Mr. Goto, who has been a part-time director of the agricultural cooperative since April 1973, and reported on the board of directors' meetings. Mr. Goto did not speak a word. When the report was over, the exchange of "Toru, give Ryoji a glass of sake and go home" continued until Mr. Goto was on the floor.

In that context, Toru said, "What my father meant was that as long as Japan continued its rapid economic growth, it would be impossible to produce real food for human beings. It was the spring of 1973 when he said, "Ryo-chan, let's try natural farming together.

Toru-san explained how his father felt. Mr. Goto's concerns: "There are many poor members in Hokuryu. How can the agricultural cooperative help them to bear the sustainable burden of agriculture?" "Hokuryu has a low reputation for rice production. How can we raise it?" "We are promoting the project on behalf of Hokkaido for the modernization project. Therefore, there must be no collusion between contractors and employees.

At that time, Hokuryu was rated "C" on the Hokkaido 4 scale for rice production area. Fukagawa, Imoseguro, and Chichibubetsu are "A". Hokkaido's production area evaluation was very strict, and the criteria for designation as a Hokkaido production area were first-class rice market price, yield closure, and farmers with a low degree of cold damage. Farming in the severe stream in Hokuryu-cho was a tough situation, although I think they worked very hard.

The paddy rice variety "Yukara" was approved in Fukagawa City, and Hokuryu Town was designated as an unsuitable production area for "Yukara. Hiroshi Tomii and Masanori Yamamoto of the youth club said, "This is no joke, I am a farmer, why can't I grow 'Yukara'? Why can't you make 'yucala'?

I believe this is where the effort to enrich the safe rice of Hokuryu began. Two people worked on the "Mature Seedling Movement. An effort to replant seedlings and accumulate accumulated temperatures. Although they did not succeed, I still remember Tomii and Yamamoto's passionate spirit of "No kidding, I am a farmer, let's not lose to Fukagawa! I'm a farmer, let's not lose to Fukagawa!" I think this passionate spirit is the starting point of Hokuryu today. I am truly grateful for that.

I am still chasing Goto-san and Toru-san. I am three, four, or five laps behind. However, I think I will continue to chase them until I die.

On January 27 of this year, I was invited to the Kawanishi Agricultural Cooperative Association of Obihiro City (JA Obihiro Kawanishi). Mr. Toshinori Arizuka, head of the Kawanishi Agricultural Cooperative, which is said to control Hokkaido agriculture, declared three years ago that Kawanishi Agriculture would be the first among all general agricultural cooperatives in Japan to engage in organic farming.

However, we were not certain how to go about organic farming. So, we sent two staff members to investigate advanced locations throughout Japan for three months. As a result of their research, the KAWANISHI NNK decided to learn from the efforts of the Hokuryu NNK.

Toshinori Aritsuka, a leading figure in the Hokkaido agricultural community, has a strong influence on the decisions of the top and full-time officials of all organizations, including Hokuren, Shinren, the Hokkaido Central Union of Agricultural Cooperatives, and the Federation of Health and Welfare. When I was in office, Mr. Aritsuka told me that he would never allow Eiki Ishibashi of Hamanaka Town and Ryoji Kikura of Hokuryu Town to serve on the boards of Hokuren, the Central Union, and Shinren.

Later, two employees of the Kawanishi Agricultural Cooperative stayed at a hot spring in Hokuryu and said, "We would love to ask Mr. Kikura for a favor. Union President Arizuka said, "I don't care what Kwikura says, just go get him!" They said.

I was supposed to go with Mamoru Segawa of Hokkaido Organic Farming, but he passed away on January 8 at the age of 72. I visited alone and spoke to the youth group and young staff for two hours.

Union President Arizuka was in the front row listening. After the lecture, we received a great reception, and the young people asked to speak with Mr. Kikura and have a drink at the after-party, which we did until 12:30 pm.

That has never changed the purpose of the 522nd Lecture, which I have given to you today.

The words clearly indicated on the back of the envelope I have given to you today are the accumulated teachings of Mr. Mitsuo Hachi Goto and Mr. Toru Goto.

I will continue to follow the teachings and appearance of Mr. Mitsuo Goto and Mr. Toru as long as my body lasts.

Mr. Kikura, overflowing with passion and thoughts, speaks powerfully about his thoughts and feelings.

Toast: Mr. Masahito Fujii, Chairman of Commerce and Industry, Hokuryu Town

Toast by Mr. Masahito Fujii, Chairman of Commerce and Industry of Hokuryu Town!

Congratulations to Mr. Ryoji Kikura for being named an Honorary Town Citizen. Mr. Kikura's passion for rice cultivation has been passed down from generation to generation as a good example for farmers in the town.

In addition, the agricultural cooperative youth club and the commercial and industrial youth club are working together to sell rice and conduct Team Agri-Fighter North Dragon activities, and we hope to continue to unite agriculture and commerce to boost the Hokuryu Town agriculture industry.

I would like to propose a toast to Mr. Ryoji Kikura and wish him good health and success in his endeavors, as well as the health of all the participants here today. Cheers!



Assorted Sashimi
hors d'oeuvre
Prawn Mayo
Meat Steak & Grilled Fish
Chirashi Sushi with Shrimp
Various cakes
We had a good talk!
Greetings from Mrs. Masako
Smiles abound...
Nostalgia overflows...
Begging the young people to take charge of the future!
Masayasu and Toshimasa, sons and brothers
Celebrating with Mayor Sano! (Photo courtesy of Mayor Yutaka Sano's Facebook page)
Endless conversations.
北竜町議会・尾崎桂子 議員と握手を交わして。。。
Shaking hands with Ms. Keiko Ozaki, a member of the Hokuryu Town Council.
The party is in full swing.

Three Hail Marys: Mr. Shigeki Mizutani, Chairman of Agricultural Committee, Hokuryu Town

  • Chairman Mizutani:Congratulations! Let's all cheerfully sing three cheers!
  • Venue :Eh! That's it? (Laughter!)
  • Chairman Mizutani:I don't talk about unnecessary things!
  • Chairman Mizutani:Ryoji Okura Hooray! Hurray! Hurray! Hooray for heaven, earth and water. Hooray! Hurray! Hurray!


After the grand celebration, the Kikura family members saw everyone off at the entrance of the hotel.

I see you all off!
Commemorative photo with your family
With heartfelt thanks to Ryoji Kikura, an honorary resident of the town, whose great spirit of "Food is Life" resides in us!


Souvenir: Sunflower oil & Kuro Sengoku soybean set

We express our infinite love, gratitude, and prayers to Ryoji Kikura, an honorary citizen of Hokuryu Town, who continues to pass on the spirit of "Food is Life" through his tireless efforts and brilliant honors.

More Photos

Subject of 522 ongoing exchanges (lectures)

祝 黄倉良二氏 名誉町民祝賀会

Cooperation between industry and consumers, between industry and consumers, a bridge of life, a bond of life.
Broadly and tenaciously in all fields
Interacting across history and generations

  1. The most important thing in this world is life.
  2. That which protects and nurtures life
  3. What is Agriculture?
  4. Recommendations and Declarations for Sustainable Development
  5. What is the real thing?
  6. Hokuryu Town's Challenge to Become an "Agricultural Conservation Environment
  7. Thank heavens for quality control that sustains safe food production.
    ...to protect mountains, trees, and greenery, and to ensure the abundance of potent and abundant water.
    Passing on proud soil from generation to generation.
    To continue to refine the skills and spirit of the peasantry.
    To equip the company with a motivated workforce
  8. Aiming for True Wealth and True Happiness
    Overcoming Hunger (Hunger in Mind, Body, and Society)
    Restoration of Health (Mental, Physical, and Social Health)
    Building a Safe Society (Safety of Mind, Body, and Society)
    In villages, towns, and cities free from war and disasters, families work and live in good health, and through these activities, contribute to people, communities, and society.

Prayer for Peace in the Sunflower
Hokkaido Shimbun "Reader's Voice" (August 13, 2022, morning edition)

黄倉良二氏 名誉町民章
黄倉良二氏 履歴等
Hokuryu Town Portal

Monday, August 15, 2022 In the Hokkaido Shimbun "Reader's Voice" (August 13, morning edition), Ryoji Kikura, 84, a Hokuryu-cho resident, contributed...

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◇ Photography and Editing: Noboru Terauchi Reporting and Writing: Ikuko Terauchi