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Japanese rice art: Bringing pictures to the paddies
The Japanese twist on crop circles can be seen at its best this month, with anime samurai and other characters adorning rice fields across the country
July finally reveals the full extent of this year's rice paddy art across the rural prefectures of Japan. From the northern island of Hokkaido through to Aichi, Yamagata, Mie, Niigata and Aomori prefectures, the Japanese version of crop circles are now in full color. With images ranging from legendary samurai warriors to modern cartoon characters such as anpanman, there is no limit to the creativity. Click 'View Gallery' above for more images.
In this video, the process of planting different colored rice plants to create enormous field art is revealed. In it, the 12th century warrior monk Benkei, who has become a somewhat legendary character in kabuki and noh performances, is seen brandishing a large sythe. Dancing on his right is 12th century general Yoshitsune -- also known as Ushiwakaumaru -- a general of the Minamoto clan whose family founded the Kamakura shogunate. Yoshitsune defeated Benkei in a duel which led to Benkei becoming his right-hand man. They then died together at the Battle of Koromo River in 1189.
Inakadate in Aomori, 600 miles north of Tokyo, where Yoshitsune and Benkei can be found, prides itself on being home to Japan's finest rice-field art according to Pink Tentacle. Around 15,000 visitors visit the art each year.
Meanwhile in other parts of Japan, the artwork varies from animals to samurai, from princesses to modern anime characters. Hundreds of villagers and volunteers are sometimes called in to plant four colors of rice to create the designs, which are drawn out first on computers.
All images from Bokurogu.