The village Inakadate in Aomori Prefecture in the north Japan it is famous for two reasons. One is its vast rice paddies and the other is the amazing works of art that the growers “paint”. on the fields.
Looking for a way to increase their tourism, the people of Inakadate thought of combining their two great loves. Rice cultivation – a knowledge they have inherited from their ancestors – and art. Every year since 1993, the rice fields have been transformed in Inakadate in living works of art.
However, these portraits depicted on the rice fields have not been made by “throwing” some kind of vegetable paint on the stems – as we might imagine. What makes these works of art unique and unrepeatable is that they consist of different varieties of rice – with shoots of different color – which are planted strategically to “synthesize” the final result with unrepeatable mastery.
This year, in a rice field is depicted the iconic “Mona Lisa” by the Renaissance master, Leonardo da Vinci and in the other the painting “Seasides” by the 19th and 20th century Japanese artist Seiki Kuroda, which is a portrait of his wife, Taneko Kaneko.
The visitors crowd onto a … balcony above the works and enjoy the view, but also the smells of nature. This year’s creations can be seen until the beginning of October.
How to make a “painting” on the rice fields of Inakadate
As Deputy Mayor Yukio Kasai says: “I don’t think we can explain the sight unless someone sees it up close“. How is such a masterpiece of nature made? Initially, it is decided which work will be depicted, in a meeting of all those involved. Then the responsible former high school teacher Atsushi Yamamoto uses a computer to translate the color compositions of the original works into something that can be reproduced with only seven colors of rice to be planted in the field.
Once the color palette is decided and the varieties selected, rice is planted by hand by around 1,300 growers and volunteers – in a celebration of joy and creation. Each painting is “handmade”, unique and of course it doesn’t last long, since next year the paddy field takes on a different image!
Once the plan is decided it takes three months to design and plant. In the early years, the designs were very simple, but today growers have reached the point of creating masterpieces of the range Mona Lisa. What should they have in mind for next year?
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