The Japanese appreciate idol groups. Fans of all ages, both men and women, follow idols and shower them with support and love, often to the point of worship. A new idol group, or unit as they're called in Japan, has people talking not for their cuteness or dance moves, but for their message of appreciating life and...

Rice! This idol unit is made up of women in their 50s to their 70s, all legitimate rice farmers from northern Japan in Akita Prefecture, a region known for its delicious rice. Niigata Rice Girls, despite being from about as far out in the boonies as you can get, are following the very trendy movement of idol units forming based on a particular theme. The theme, of course, is rice. Their debut single is called "Shiawase Musubi," which literally means "Happiness Rice Balls," and the reviews are unlike what other idol units get. Many new fans of these sweet ladies have been expressing their feelings online about how watching the Niigata Rice Girls in their music video for "Shiawase Musubi" brought tears to their eyes, making them appreciate not rice necessarily, but maybe being positive about life itself. 

The hope is that through the warmth and unconditional love shown by the ladies of this idol unit, the masses will buy their CDs and buy the rice that they farm, a popular brand called Koshihikari. If these sweet ladies can't convince you to buy Koshihikari rice, I don't know who can.

Here they are, for your viewing pleasure, Niigata Rice Girls.

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We are Rice Girls