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Aug 12, 2009

RICE FIELDS IN JAPAN

Stunning crop art has sprung up across rice fields in Japan.
But this is no alien creation - the designs have been cleverly planted.

Farmers creating the huge displays use no ink or dye. Instead,
different colours of rice plants have been precisely and strategically arranged and grown in the paddy fields.
As summer progresses and the plants shoot up, the detailed artwork begins to emerge.

A Sengoku warrior on horseback has been created from hundreds of thousands of rice plants, the colours created by using different varieties, in Inakadate in Japan
The largest and finest work is grown in the Aomori village of Inakadate, 600 miles north of Toyko, where the tradition began in 1993.

The village has now earned a reputation for its agricultural artistry and this year
the enormous pictures of Napoleon and a Sengoku-period warrior,
both on horseback, are visible in a pair of fields adjacent to the town hall.

More than 150,000 vistors come to Inakadate,
where just 8,700 people live, every summer to see the extraordinary murals.
Each year hundreds of volunteers and villagers
plant four different varieties of rice in late May across huge swathes of paddy fields.
Napolean on horseback can be seen from the skies,
created by precision planting and months of planning between villagers and farmers in Inkadate

Another famous rice paddy art venue is in the town of Yonezawa in the Yamagata prefecture.
This year's design shows the fictional 16th-century samurai warrior Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife, Osen, whose lives feature in television series Tenchijin.
Various artwork has popped up in other rice-farming areas of Japan this year,
including designs of deer dancers.

Smaller works of crop art can be seen in other rice-farming areas of Japan such as this image of Doraemon and deer dancers

The farmers create the murals by planting little purple and yellow-leafed kodaimai rice
along with their local green-leafed tsugaru roman variety to create the coloured patterns between planting and harvesting in September.
The murals in Inakadate cover 15,000 square metres of paddy fields.
From ground level, the designs are invisible, and viewers have to climb the mock castle tower of the village office to get a glimpse of the work.
Rice-paddy art was started there in 1993 as a local revitalization project, an idea that grew out of meetings of the village committee.

Closer to the image, the careful placement of thousands of rice plants in the paddy fields can be seen
The different varieties of rice plant grow alongside each other to create the masterpieces
In the first nine years, the village office workers and local farmers grew a simple design of Mount Iwaki every year.
But their ideas grew more complicated and attracted more attention.
In 2005 agreements between landowners allowed the creation of enormous rice paddy art.
A year later, organisers used computers to precisely plot planting of the four differently colored rice varieties that bring the images to life.
Closer to the image, the careful placement of thousands of rice plants in the paddy fields can be seen
The different varieties of rice plant grow alongside each other to create the masterpieces
In the first nine years, the village office workers and local farmers grew a simple design of Mount Iwaki every year.

But their ideas grew more complicated and attracted more attention.
In 2005 agreements between landowners allowed the creation of enormous rice paddy art.
A year later, organisers used computers to precisely plot planting of the four differently colored rice varieties that bring the images to life.





12 comments:

Delwyn said...

Hello Lori

this is amazing and if anyone can do precision the Japanese can...
I'll show my daughter (who is over for a brief visit from Tokyo)...

Happy days

Jane said...

Wow, is this for real?? It looks so unbelievable to be real you know!

Mary said...

This was an amazing post. Thanks so much for the research and work it took to put it together. it is appreciated.

Bill said...

Hi Lori,
Fascinating post! I wasn't aware of this art form. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

Thank you for your thoughtful comment on my family table post. I definitely thought of you when I decided to use the South Seas flatware! I had a feeling you might notice!

I might just take you up on your kind offer of help with genealogical research .. I've hit a few brick walls ... very frustrating!

bye for now ...
Bill

@eloh said...

Just amazing. I didn't even know that rice plants (a variety) came in black and white foliage. All I could think about in the close up was looking for Jake the snake.

Lou said...

Great post Lori. I'd never heard of this artform, it was really interesting.

Carrie said...

Thank you very much for introducing this amazing art form!

Sue said...

How very intriguing- I have never seen anything like this, Lori. It is amazing that they achieved such wonderful results even before they began using computer programming to help with intricate designs. You found something really interesting to show us this time...

Housewife Savant said...

Wow. This is fabulous. I love that you posted the close-up images too, cuz I'm old, and I just can't imagine...
Great post.

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Hi Lori,

I spent a month in Japan in 1999 and in fact I went to Aomori - I loved the rice fields -

The Japanese are very creative and artistic. I enjoyed every moment of my time spent in Japan. I traveled to so many places on the Bullet Train. Now that's the way to travel!

Joanne said...

Lori - wow thanks for sharing. The talent people have on this planet and especially in Japan. Like Lucie mentioned Japan is so richly creative. I am not sure if they still do this - but when I was there oh so many years ago they wrapped up your purchases at the department stores. I am talking the most unique gift-wrapping and that was not extra just what they did. Heck they even had people bowing to you as you got on and off the escalators.

lori e said...

Commenting woes once again. Just checking.

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