Rice Field Art

January 12, 2010

Some real beauty to be found on this site: http://www.hemmy.net/2007/09/23/rice-field-art/

This URL, which came to me via a friend, demonstrates something that ought to be obvious but apparently isn’t obvious to everyone: The need to create beauty is a deep human need. It has nothing to do with economics (and certainly nothing to do with politics). Take a look at these lovely photos with that thought in mind. None of the people who participated in creating these designs benefited economically as as individual, I imagine. Would that make it any less satisfying?

After I sent this URL around to friends, another friend sent additional information, found (with great photos) at http://halohalo.ph/?p=14563

From ground level, the artistic paddies spread out before the Inakadate Village office building are, like those corn circles that crop up in England at this time of year, invisible. However, by scaling (for free) a 22-meter-high mock castle tower that’s part of the village office and overlooks the fields, visitors are rewarded with a view that takes their breath away. And, as a boon to the local economy, it’s a field of dreams as well, with around 150,000 visitors drawn to the village of 8,700 souls in the last few months alone.

“People who see this for the first time often ask me if we made this by painting colors on green rice plants,” says Akio Nakayama, who leads the rice paddy art project, while viewing the multicolored rice fields from the village office. Nakayama, an official of the office’s industries section, has been working on the art project for more than 10 years.
“This year’s Hokusai design was very challenging,” he says. “We weren’t sure if we could really pull it off — but we did.”

Inakadate Village started to create rice-paddy art in 1993 as a local revitalization project. No one will take credit for the idea, which seems to have just grown out of meetings of the village committee.

In the first nine years, the village office workers and local farmers grew a simple design of Mount Iwaki in Aomori Prefecture every year, accompanied by the words “Inakadate, a village of rice culture.” Then, by planting rice varieties with different colors of foliage on about 2,500 sq. meters of rice paddies, they quite literally brought their designs to life.

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