What is okome or Japanese rice?
Even Japanese deities grew okome
The Japanese mythology tells that Amaterasu Oomikami, a major deity of the Shinto religion and the goddess of the sun and the universe, grew okome or Japanese rice by herself. The Japanese Imperial family, still now, grows okome as a ritual.
Okome as an object of taxation and a substitute of money
From the early-7th century to the mid-19th century, Japanese farmers paid their tax to the government mainly by okome. The harvests were also used as a substitute of money in commercial activities in the Edo period (the 17th to 19th century). The Rice Exchange was established in the city of Osaka, trading a great volume of okome gathered from all over the country. The exchange even succeeded in developing a kind of futures-trade system for the first time in the world.
Okome as the keynote of wahoku
Washoku or Japanese cuisine has a kind of basic menu called Ichiju San Sai, which generally consists of shirumono (soup), yakizakana (grilled fish), niyasai (steamed vegetables), and tsukemono (pickles). What underlies all the menu is gohan or cooked okome. Since washoku cannot exist without okome, we should say okome is the keynote of washoku.
Okome as the fundamental of various Japanese foods and drinks
Okome is used as part of ingredients for various Japanese foods, seasonings and drinks which includes sake, miso, shoyu, mirin, su, mizuame.