A Seed of Life/Isao Noguchi
秀明インターナショナル『Visions of the living seed』2015より(末尾に和文あり)

For me, seeds mean Life. A plant's ultimate purpose is to generate offspring: to create seeds. Crop vegetables are by-products of this thriving effort. We tend to forget this simple fact, only focusing on crops as food. But, before we eat, it is Japanese tradition to say Itadakimasu - "Thank you for giving us your life". Afterall, no vegetation means no life on this planet.

There are uncounted numbers of species in the planet kingdom., some are self-pollinating, others cross-pollinate. Each has its own unique features , looks, functions, and aspects. There isn't one definitive way to cultivate crops. Until the Meiji period (1868-1912), our ancesters randomly collected seeds from plants and cross-pollinated them, resulting in many new crop varieties. People tried to keep these varieties, but the essence of the life force is change. Plants adapt to conditions of soil and climate. They flower and produce seeds, which naturally fall into the soil and germinate to become the next generation. If we save seeds from those plants and sow them nearby, they would further adapt to the soil, exhibiting their full life force energy. Natural cross-pollination by insects or wind also happens and those seeds may produce different varieties. That is totally natural.

However, most retailers in Japan sell hybrid seeds, commonly refered to as "F1 hybrid". Almost all F1 hybrids in the market have become cytoplasmic, male-sterile crops with no pollen, which means you cannot harvest seeds to create the next generation. It is frightening to think that companies are allowed to increase varieties using this technology. Pollen-less crops are taking over the world food industry; most people have no choice but to consume that kind of food.

Crops produced from F1 hybrid seeds are incapable of producing offspring, so farmers cannot save seeds. They must buy F1 hybrid seeds, year after year. Most vegetables we buy at supermarkets are products of pollen-less seeds. This is a great threat to our future.

As pollen-less seed varieties dominate agri-business, original plant seminal genes begin to disappear from our world. If all seeds available in the world become male-sterile, natural plant species will vanish from the earth. These fearful possibilities have driven me to advocate collecting and selling native seed varieties. In the olden days, people collected seeds from their crops. We need to return to this home-seed-saving system, or seeds will lose their life force and energy.

Sperm cells use energy supplied by mitochondria to achieve fertilization. However, the process causes damage to the male mitochondria which may cause abnormalities, and they are destroyed after the egg is fertilized. That means that second generation plants and animals, humans included, inherit only maternal mitochondria. As almost all plants are hermaphroditic, they are capable of reproducing by cross-pollination. However the offspring of these plants will be male-sterilized.

Can you imagine what impact continuous consumption of F1 hybrid food could have on our children? Will they have genes capable of reproducing? Will their sperm cells be healthy? This possibility correlates to the increasing numbers of Japanese incapable of bearing children in recent years. A recent study clearly shows the average number of sperm cells in a millilitre of semen used to be 150 million in 1940s. However, now it is said to be 40 million, which is about one-fourth of what it was.

Seeds are the very source of life. We humans have been interfering with inviolable principles and endangering many species, including the human race itself. Male-sterilized plants are now quietly trying to get even with us. We need to recognize this fact annd take action to return to nature's way and live in harmony with all living beings on our planet, Earth.








【2014/9/5.実施・野口 勲へのインタビューによる秀明インターナショナル/構成】

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