Shizen farming of rice in Japan may represent a qualitatively set of management practices (syndrome) from conventional rice-production practices, which are based on the agronomic theory of Matsushima. We examined the growth of rice and the development of the pest fauna on adjacent farms at Dezima-mura, Ibaraki-ken, one of which used shizen farming practices and the other conventional farming practices. Differences in management practice included transplanting technique, plant density, irrigation practice, fertility source and quantity, and insect, disease and weed management tactics. Rice yields were comparable, but shizen farming produced larger seeds and conventional farming produced more seeds. Shizen plants grew steadily and probably had little internal recycling of nutrients. Conventional plants grew rapidly with much internal recycling of nutrients. Pest attack was apparently related to plant development and was more severe on conventional plants early in growth and of similar severity late in growth on both conventional and shizen plants.