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Crop Art....Japanese style

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  • Most rice fields in Japan, and throughout much of Asia, are much more than a simple place to grow food. In some cultures, whether or not a farmer owns land on which to cultivate rice is symbolic of his stature in the class system and overall social hierarchy. They spend hours of time not only in the fields, but also blessing and decorating the granaries within which they’ll store the rice once it has been harvested.

    So, in true Japanese style, the art of growing rice has been taken to a new level. Crop art — created by strategically arranging and growing different colors of rice plants — can be seen in farming communities across the country. The largest and finest work is grown in the Aomori prefecture village of Inakadate, which has earned a reputation for its agricultural artistry.


    In the case of Inakadate, the project originally simply came about as part of a revitalization effort designed to help enhance the beauty of their small village of only 8,700 residents. They started with simple designs, such as a picture of Mount Iwaki, but later began challenging themselves as their skills grew and they became more confident in their work. In 2007, they attempted to recreate some of the famous woodblock prints created by Katsushika Hokusai in his series known as “Fugaku Sanjurokke,” which translates to “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji.”

    So how do they do it? Japanese farmers commonly grow a variety of rice, called tsugaru-roman, which buds with green leaves. In order to design their crop art, they include kodaimai rice, which grows with purple and yellow leaves and provides the contrast needed to create lines and depth within the work of art.  Some farmers incorporate brown and yellow rice into their field art as well.


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    References: www.guardian.co.uk


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