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Rice Field Art

For over a thousand years Japanese village farmers have worked together as a team to flood and drain fields, and to plant and harvest their rice. Although they did not own the land communally, they worked together for the betterment of all.

For the last several decades, however, many younger people have moved to the cities, leaving the villages to languish. Villagers and village committees continued to meet to discuss subject of mutual interest.Colored rice

Such was the case in Inakadate, a town of just 8,700 in Aomori prefecture. Trying to find a way to revitalize their area, the committee hit on the idea of collaborating to turn ordinary rice fields into giant works of art. This would be done by meticulously planting four different colors of rice to create an enormous detailed picture.

Every April the villagers meet to plan the design and decide which types of rice to plant where. Planting takes place in May and as the summer progresses, the designs emerge. In September the image bursts forth in its full glory.



As the success was enormous, other towns and villages began to create their own. By 2006, Inakadate and others were using computers to help them create more sophisticated images. That year over 200,000 visited Inakadate to view this unique art.

Naoe, Kanetsugu, a commander from the Sengoku period and Napoleon can be seen side by side.

You might wonder how people could view these gigantic designs that stretch over 15,000 square meters (3.7 acres). Castle-type towers 22 meters high have been erected for maximum viewing and photographic pleasure of this stunning art created by hundreds of villagers and volunteers working together.


Inakadate August 2012, photo by Fud? My??

Inakadate Images

 by Diana Rowland

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Rowland & Associates is a premier cross-cultural consulting firm, providing essential international business skills since 1985. Our passion is bringing intercultural business success through heightened insight and agility. We believe that bold steps with exceptional preparation can create dynamic solutions.


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