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Japan's Secret Garden

Program Overview


NOVA illustrates how the seasonal rhythms of Japan's long-standing rice paddies—from wet to dry to wet again—has created a unique environment that sustains a rich variety of animal, insect, plant, and human life.

The program:

  • shows how spring mountain water released into the fields reawakens dormant life.

  • reviews the many species that gather from near and far when the fields are flooded, a number that eventually will include more than 1,000 species of insects.

  • follows the birth of many species as the days grow warmer.

  • explores the predator-prey relationships that take place in the paddies.

  • summarizes the role of the nearby woodlands as a water reservoir for rain and a source of food, firewood, charcoal, and oak tree limbs for growing shiitake mushrooms.

  • relates how Japanese laborers work the rice paddies and worship the forces of nature that govern them.

  • indicates how, as fall and winter approach, species react in different ways—by leaving the fields, hibernating, or depositing eggs that will hatch in spring.

Teacher's Guide
Japan's Secret Garden
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