Japan's Amazing Rice Paddy Art Continues to Dazzle
From Brian Ashcraft with Kotaku.com:
"This is Naruto from, well, Naruto. The iconic manga and anime character has been recreated in a Japanese rice paddy.
This is called "tanbo art" (田んぼアート) or "rice paddy art". There are no dyes to create the different colors and hues. Instead, farmers used various rice strains in their tanbo canvases.
Often, hundreds of villagers work together to plant the rice by hand and create these massive works of art. While planting, different areas of the rice paddy are roped off, so people know which type of rice to put where—kind of like painting by numbers.
Rice is planted in the spring, and then harvested in the fall. When it gets close to harvest, the color changes to a beautiful hue called "koganeiro" (黄金色), which is often translated as "golden" or "honey-colored".
This means the art changes as the seasons change.
Originally, tanbo art was started in the early 1990s after a village Aomori Prefecture was looking for a way to rejuvenate itself. Since then, the rice paddy art has been good for local tourism—so good, it seems, that it has spread to other prefectures. The Naruto tanbo art, for instance, is located in Okayama Prefecture.
So while tanbo art isn't new, the Naruto rice paddy hit Twitter earlier this week.
Now, people visit these local rice fields and take photos of the rice paddies from scaffolding. Some, of course, take photos with the tanbo art.
Traditionally, tanbo art has taken its designs from traditional motifs—Japanese or Western. But in the past few years, there have been more and more "geek-friendly" rice paddies, whether that's Mazinger-Z or, more recently, Naruto.