New Parents in Japan Are Gifting Rice Bags Shaped Like Babies

Parents in Japan Are Sending Their Family Members Rice Bags That Look Like Babies

Would you cuddle with a rice-filled bag wrapped in a blanket?

To cheer up and console their family members, Japanese parents of newborn babies are sending their relatives rice bags that are as heavy as their child’s baby weight. Covered in blankets and featuring a photograph of the baby, these rice bags allow the parents’ relatives to pretend that they are embracing the real-life infant. 

In Japan, this phenomenon of sending relatives bags of rice that are wrapped in baby blankets is called dakigokochi. While this practice is not a new occurrence in Japan, it’s becoming an increasingly popular trend among Japanese parents during the pandemic. 

Why Japanese parents are giving their family members bags of rice

Parents in Japan Are Sending Their Family Members Rice Bags That Look Like Babies

Image credit: yu-ji via Canva Pro 

Many families in Japan are unable to celebrate or share joyful moments with their loved ones in person as a result of strict pandemic restrictions in Japan, where a state of emergency has been declared over several prefectures including Tokyo and Okinawa. As Japanese citizens haven’t been able to visit their relatives for long periods of time, these “rice bag babies” offer a chance to cuddle a rice-filled replica of their relatives’ newborn children. 

Some of these rice bags are swaddled in baby blankets and presented with a printed photograph of the infants on the front. What’s more, these bags are supposed to weigh approximately the same pounds as the babies themselves for a closer imitation. Check out the Kome no Zoto Yoshimiya rice shop to see how these bags of rice are packaged and priced. 

Image credit: Alter_photo via Canva Pro 

Aside from rice bags shaped like babies, the practice of dakigokochi also includes wedding ceremonies during the new normal. In this case, the newly wedded bride and groom send their parents bags of rice as a “way of showing appreciation for giving birth to them,” according to a report from The Guardian

Due to Japan’s declining birth rate, these wedding-themed rice bags have quickly grown in popularity, eclipsing the baby-themed ones in sales. 

Also read: Japan Is Selling Empty Houses for Less Than US$500

Sending gifts during special occasions or as a sign of thanks is customary in Japan. However, a different problem arises upon receiving these tightly bungled-up rice babies. Some Japanese citizens are struggling to unwrap the bag and eat the rice. 

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