Message from the President
I am the president of Asahikawa Vinyl Co.,Ltd., a company located in Asahikawa city, Japan that sells wholesale greenhouse equipment and organic fertilizer. We sell irrigation systems and heaters for the greenhouse as well.
Our company was established by Jiro Otani in 1964, the same year the first Tokyo Olympic Games were held. We started as a seller of greenhouses in this cold region of northern Japan, the Hokkaido prefecture. Unfortunately, the plastic used to cover our greenhouses (polyvinylchlolide, PVC) shattered at temperatures below -20°C(-4°F). Jiro collaborated with C.I.Kasei Co.,Ltd., Tokyo, Japan and, in 1967, invented a new PVC plastic covering called Super Hamaplus able to withstand very cold temperatures(This plastic covering is still available under its new name, Super Sky Eight). This innovative new product allowed protected horticulture to thrive even during the harsh winters of Hokkaido.
The manufacture and sales of plastics were very good until 1979 when the Iranian Revolution occurred which affected the price of oil. As a result the price of naphtha, a product generated from oil, went up and so did the price of PVC. Our company was soon in crisis due to the increasingly higher price of plastics.
As a result, Jiro turned to focus on the fertilizers used in the greenhouses, and employed a 50-year-old farmer named Kiyoharu Takada. Farming since he was 20, he already had many years of experience using fertilizer and he also had learned how to farm from “Mr. Vegetable” Yoshida in Ibaraki prefecture(Today at 81 years old Takada is still an adviser to our company!)
Takada used an organic fertilizer called “bokashi”. Bokashi is made from organic matter by a fermentation process, a practice that’s been used in Japan for several hundred years. “Bokashi” in Japanese means fuzzy or obscured. During the fermentation process, organic matter becomes “fuzzied” by microorganisms producing a final product that supplies plants with amino acids as an organic source of nitrogen. Even the great German chemist Justus von Liebig, famous for the inorganic nutrition theory, admired the Japanese method of producing organic fertilizer in his paper “Die organische Chemie in ihrer Anwendung auf der Agrikultur und Physiologie(1840).” Incidentally, the term bokashi has become synonymous with Japanese organic fertilizer.
We sell the organic fertilizer “bokashi” and also provide consultation on fertilizer application strategy. The specialized world of greenhouse horticulture, particularly dealing with tender transplants, often demands a different approach to fertilizer use and we can supply that expertise.
Planning fertilizer applications is similar to diagnosing a patient: the big difference is that humans can voice their complaints to their physician while plants cannot. We supply the skill in determining your plants’ particular needs for their optimal growth and productivity.
Taiichi Otani, M.D., Ph.D.