Photo/IllutrationWeighing in at 427.8 kilograms, the pumpkin, far right, took the top prize in a contest held in the town of Tonosho, Kagawa Prefecture, on Sept. 15. (Satoru Ogawa)

  • Photo/Illustraion

TONOSHO, Kagawa Prefecture--A farmer from Nagano Prefecture took the top prize in a pumpkin contest here Sept. 15 with a 427.8-kilogram behemoth.

It was the heaviest among 60 entries from 14 prefectures, which host local contests.

All of the pumpkins were of the Atlantic Giant variety, and many measured 1.5 meters or more in diameter and weighed in excess of 350 kilograms.

Takenori Shimizu, 65, named his pumpkin “Makoto-chan.” Makoto can translate as sincerity or honesty in Japanese.

His farm is located at an altitude of 1,000 meters in the village of Hara. The first seedling he planted in May was frozen, so he planted a fresh seedling.

“I enjoyed growing Makoto-chan, watering it every day,” said Shimizu, who has been growing large pumpkins for three years.

Shimizu is now eligible to bring his pumpkin to a world contest to be held in the United States.

“I am nervous as I don't know if I can make a good speech in English,” he said.