The character 豊 in the title above is read yutaka and means “abundance.”
There are many stories behind this character. One is that the top part of the character represents ears of rice or wheat, and the lower part is a stand with legs on which the ears are offered to the gods. The character represents those who are joyful after reaping a bountiful harvest a long while after seeds were sown and then offering the ripe ears in thanks.
Autumn is the season for giving thanks for the blessings of nature, and there are events throughout Japan to celebrate the harvest. Giving thanks and showing appreciation for the year’s labor may be common to cultures all over the world, even if the ways in which they are expressed are different.
When we think of “bounty and abundance,” we tend to be preoccupied with material things, but spiritual resources are also important. This abundance is born of an unfettered lifestyle blessed with health, safety, and peace of mind. One aspect of abundance is filling one’s stomach with the foods of autumn, but another aspect is the sense of fulfillment that comes from having worked without trouble for the entire year. These two types of abundance go hand in hand to nurture an even greater sense of abundance.
Happily, modern-day Japan enjoys the benefits of both of these. We are full of thanks for this and desire to the best of our ability to share these blessings with others. With respect to countries that are our friends, we continue to think about how we can share with them our “bounty and abundance.” In the future, when the harvests come from the variety of different seeds sewn in cooperation with our friends and when the entire world is able to benefit from this, we in Japan will be even more fulfilled.