Rice Paddies Become an Art Form
The village of Inakadate-mura in Aomori Prefecture has become famous for its “rice paddy art,” which uses different varieties of rice ears to form pictures on “canvasses” of rice paddies. While the best time for viewing is in August, the art can be enjoyed up to harvest time in the middle of October.
This year, the 21st rice “exhibition” since it began in 1993 took the theme of “Oiran and Hollywood Stars.” (Oriran were top-ranked professional courtesans from pre-modern times, said to be great beauties.) For example, Exhibit No. 1 showed female impressionist Tomio Umezawa, who competed with Marilyn Monroe in her famous leg-revealing scene from the 1955 film “The Seven-Year Itch.” To form the images, nine different strains of rice, including the local “Tsugaru Roman” and ancient rice strains, are utilized, making possible seven different colors all together.
Paddy Exhibit No. 2 featured the popular “Ultraman” children’s TV show created by Tsuburaya Productions, which this year observes its 50th anniversary.
Rice paddy art continues to spread throughout Japan’s farming villages, serving as a means of attracting visitors.