Nariki-zeme (nariki, which is written as 成り木, means fruit bearing trees, and 責め, which in this case is pronounced 'zeme,' is a noun form of 責める [semeru] which in this context means to press a tree for fruition) is a folk rite praying for a good harvest, conducted on such fruit trees as persimmon, chestnut and ume. It is often held on either January 14 or January 15 (koshogatsu which means the lunar new year).
In some regions this custom is called "Naruka-naranuka" (Will you bear fruits or you won't?)
It is conducted by several people including children. A person holds a hatchet high in front of a fruit tree and threatens the tree saying, "Will you bear fruits or will you not? If you won't, I'll cut you down." Another person playing the fruit tree, who is often a child, replies, "I will, I will." and promises a good harvest. In some cases they give the tree a small cut with a hatchet, or even spread porridge of rice and azuki beans on the cut.