Hokuryu Melon Production Association 40th Anniversary Ceremony 2020

Monday, February 10, 2020

On Tuesday, February 4, the 40th anniversary celebration of the Hokuryu Melon Production Association was held at Sunflower Park Hokuryu Onsen.

Hokuryu Melon Production Association 40th Anniversary Ceremony

Ceremonial Materials

Ceremonial Materials

opening of a ceremony

Katsuhiro Takahata, vice president of the Hokuryu Melon Producers' Association, presided over the ceremony, which began with opening remarks.

Moderator Katsuhiro Takahata

Ceremonial address: Norifumi Maeda, President, Hokuryu Melon Growers Association

北竜メロン生産組合組合長 前田規文氏
Norifumi Maeda, Head of Hokuryu Melon Growers Association

I would like to say a few words of thanks to the Hokuryu Melon Producers Association on the occasion of its 40th anniversary today. I would also like to thank Mayor Sano and the many other distinguished guests for coming to celebrate with us amidst the busyness of the season. Thank you very much.

It began with a prototype in 1979, and the following year, 1980, the union was established. We would like to express our gratitude to our predecessors who have overcome many difficulties, and to everyone involved for their guidance and cooperation.

The number of households, area, and sales have been declining since peaking in 1991 due to repeated changes in agricultural conditions, the aging of farmers, and the expansion of paddy field area due to farmland transfers and other factors.

However, we believe that maintaining the current situation and delivering safe and secure Hokuryu melons to consumers is the way forward for us as a production region.

In closing, I would like to wish all producers good health, and ask for the continued guidance and support of all related parties. Thank you very much for your kind attention today," said Mr. Maeda, President of the cooperative.

Guests of Honor

Presentation of Certificate of Appreciation

Certificates of appreciation were presented to those who have served on the board.

Isao Kawamura, Kazuhiko Takaishi, Shigeki Mizutani, Fuminobu Kawashima, Keiichi Watanabe

Presentation of Certificate of Appreciation

Acknowledgement: Isao Kawamura, Advisor, Hokuryu Melon Production Association

Mr. Isao Kawamura gave an acknowledgment speech as the representative.

北竜メロン生産組合・川村功 顧問
Isao Kawamura, Advisor, Hokuryu Melon Production Association

I am very happy to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Hokuryu Melon Growers Association with you today. I would like to express my deepest gratitude for the letter of appreciation you have just presented to us. Thank you very much.

Forty years is a long time, and I have been farming for 38 years now. My farming life has always had melons.

Although the number of melon growers has decreased in recent years, we are maintaining our sales at 100 million yen, which is one of our standards.

I, too, will work hard for the next 50 years and, with my mother's approval, for the next 10 years to produce good and well-priced melons together with all of you.

I would like to extend my best wishes to all concerned. Thank you very much."

congratulatory address by guest of honor

Hokuryu Town, Mayor Yutaka Sano

北竜町長 佐野 豊様
Mr. Yutaka Sano, Mayor of Hokuryu Town

Congratulations on today's 40th anniversary celebration of the Hokuryu Melon Growers Association. I am delighted that so many people have participated in this grand event. I would like to thank you for your continued support and cooperation with the town government.

A certificate of appreciation has just been presented to all those who have contributed to the production of Hokuryu melons over the years. From the standpoint of the administration, we would like to congratulate you.

It has been a quiet, mild, and warm start to the new year, with really little snow in January, which is worrisome, but we still have a lot of hard winter ahead of us. It snowed again today, and I hope it will not affect our farming operations.

Now, melons were grown for the first time in Hokuryu Town in 1980. In 1991, the town had 172 producing farmers with an area of 72 ha, and was regarded by many communities as the second largest melon producing area after Yubari. However, due to the aging of the farmers, last year the number of farmers was only 7 ha and 30 households.

Led by Mr. Maeda, the head of the cooperative, he has been making daily efforts to improve melon production, a specialty of Hokuryu Town, and cultivation techniques. I would like to express my sincere respect for their efforts. In addition, we have secured a large quantity of melons for our hometown tax payment, and we have been dealing with melons mainly from Minotchi Hokuryu. We would like to thank you again.

We will continue to work with the JA members and many others to make the town a melon-producing region.

Last year, a new farmer started his own business and brought his melons to the town hall saying, "I have produced such fine melons! He brought his melons to the town hall. I think this is thanks to the technical guidance given by all the people involved and the growers. We were very happy that the new farmers delivered the melons they had grown for the first time.

Let me conclude my congratulatory address by wishing the Hokuryu Melon Production Association continued growth and good health and happiness for everyone, as well as a wonderful autumn and a great year for agriculture in Hokuryu Town. I would like to extend my congratulations to you today," said Mayor Sano.

To all participants

JA Kitasorachi, Takafumi Kashiwagi, President & Representative Director

JAきたそらち代表理事組合長 柏木孝文様
Mr. Takafumi Kashiwagi, President of JA Kitasorachi

Congratulations on the 40th anniversary of the Hokuryu Melon Production Association. I was a high school student in 1980, the year the Hokuryu Melon began to be cultivated. For 40 years since then, it has established its position as a specialty product of Hokuryu Town. I would like to express my gratitude to the past generations of growers, union members, and producers for their efforts to date.

Although I have no experience in growing melons, I participate in the Hokuryu Watermelon and Melon Festival every year as much as I can. I have always felt that there are consumers who look forward to seeing your melons every year.

I am sure that the growers are growing melons with sincerity, thinking of the consumers who are eagerly waiting for them. We hope that they will continue to grow even better melons.

The 40th anniversary ceremony is being held under the auspices of many growers. We hope that you will continue to grow Hokuryu melons for many years to come, while taking good care of yourselves for the next 50 or 60 years. We wish for the continued development of this region.

Although there are no abnormalities in crop conditions due to the unusual weather this year, there are a few concerns. We hope that your efforts will take shape and produce a good crop. I wish you all a good year ahead. Congratulations on your success today," said Mr. Kashiwagi, head of the cooperative.

unveiling of a congratulatory telegram

Congratulations on your 40th anniversary. I would like to express my respect for your association's past achievements and wish you further prosperity in the future. Mr. Yasushi Kakutani, President of Kyokuichi Co.

unveiling of a congratulatory telegram

Toast: Kenkazu Okamoto, Executive Officer, Kyokuichi Co.

株式会社キョクイチ執行委員 岡本賢和様
Mr. Kenkazu Okamoto, Executive Committee Member, Kyokuichi Co.

Congratulations on the 40th anniversary of the Hokuryu Melon Growers Association. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mr. Maeda, the head of the cooperative, and all the growers for their efforts in making this day a reality.

People say that when a company is established, half of the companies disappear after one year, 30% after three years, 15% after five years, 5% after 10 years, and after 30 years, only 0.02% remain. This means that this 40th anniversary is a wonderful number because each one of you is the president of a company, and each one of you has built it up over the past 40 years.

The slogan of the production association is "Responsibility as a production area, trusted production and sales," which I think is a wonderful thing. We, too, are doing our best to deliver food to you with the promise of safety and security, and I believe that our feelings are the same as yours.

As I mentioned earlier, I have learned that a farmer is only as good as his mother. I hope that with your mother's approval, you will work even harder and that the Hokuryu melon will continue to spread along with its name for the next 50 to 60 years.

As reported in today's Hokkaido Newspaper, a ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of our newly built refrigerator. It can now hold approximately 6,500 tons of products. The temperature can be kept at minus 60 degrees Celsius. This is due to the company's policy to deliver food securely and stably.

Like your slogan, we too will strive to have a reliable production area and a solid sales plan. Thank you for your continued support.

I would like to propose a toast to the Hokuryu Melon Producers Association, wishing them continued growth and the good health of all participants. Cheers! Congratulations," said Mr. Okamoto.




We are all in good harmony.
We had a great conversation....
Smiles abound...

Gorgeous dishes

We shared the joy of the celebration with a sumptuous array of food and drinks.

Sauteed meat
assorted sashimi
chicken or fish meatloaf skewer
sauteed fish
sushi rice in a box or bowl with a variety of ingredients sprinkled on top
Salmon, pork and Tsukune nabe
stir-fried shrimp in chili sauce

Closing remarks: Katsuhisa Hashimoto

Katsuhisa Hashimoto

Congratulations on your 40th anniversary. Looking back, I was one of the 31 producers in 1980 when the Hokuryu Melon Production Association was established. Although I have retired from active service, I will continue to do my best as long as my legs can move.

Over the past 40 years, I have seen more than 170 producers, and although the number is decreasing due to changes in the agricultural situation, I hope that the current 30 farmers will work harder and produce better products. We will continue to work as hard as we can with your guidance and with the help of all of you.

Now, let's have Ipponjime, please. Yo-pon!" with great vigor, and Mr. Hashimoto led the closing ceremony.

Ipponjime, yo-pon!

closing address

Mr. Toshimitsu Saito of the JA Kitarachi Hokuryu Branch's Fruits and Vegetables Department gave the closing remarks, and the commemorative ceremony ended without delay.

Mr. Toshimitsu Saito, Fruits and Vegetables Department, Hokuryu Branch Office, JA Kitachi

The great souls of our predecessors, who overcame many difficulties and took over in the course of 40 years.

We express our unlimited respect, gratitude, and prayers to the Hokuryu melon, which has a firm position as a blue flesh melon and a superb taste.

More Photos

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interpoint (interword separation)Click here for the Hokuryu Melon Producers Association introduction page >>

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