Japanese parents are sending bags of rice for relatives to hug in place of babies

The bags of rice weigh the same as the babies

Rice babies
(Image credit: Chadchai Ra-ngubpai/Getty Images)

Japanese parents are sending 'rice babies' or bags of rice that weigh the same as their babies to relatives. The idea comes as many families across the globe aren't able to meet their new family members as soon as they'd like owing to covid concerns.

Japanese parents have been getting creative with making up for all that lost family time by sending their families their newborn babies—in rice form.

The rice babies are available in a whole range of designs and some are even shaped like a baby, with the new arrival's face printed on the front. 

This means that cuddling the ornately decorated bags, which weigh the same as the baby's birth weight, is almost like cuddling the little bundle of joy in real life.

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The bag's weight, per the Guardian, is what quantifies the price with some firms charging one yen per gram meaning a 3.5kg pack is priced at 3,500 yen (£22.90/$33.77)

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Naruo Ono, the owner of Kome no Zoto Yoshimiya rice shop, spoke to the publication and explained where the creative idea came from. "I first had the idea about 14 years ago when my own son was born and I was thinking about what I could do for relatives who lived far away and couldn’t come and see him," they explained. "So we decided to make bags of rice that were the same weight and shape as the baby, so relatives could hold them and feel the cuteness." 

The rice babies are proving popular as covid restrictions mean that sadly, for many, getting to meet new additions to the family is being considerably delayed. 

However, according to Naruo, the unique gifts aren't only popular with new babies—they're being used to represent old ones too! The dolls have proven to be a popular throwback gift for newlyweds, to give to their parents. These examples of the gift represent gratitude for giving them life and feature an old baby photo and their birth weight. The business owner explains, "In the case of the wedding celebration goods, the bride and groom give them to the respective parents with their pictures on them from when they were babies as a way of showing appreciation for giving birth to them."

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.