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Crop Art - Rice Fields of Japan

Outline
Message claims that attached photographs depict giant works of art created by growing different coloured rice plants in Japanese rice fields.



Brief Analysis
The information in the message is true. Although the images may look as if they have been digitally created in an image manipulation program, they are in fact genuine and are indeed created from rice plants as described in the message.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.



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Last updated: 27th April 2011
First published: 18th September 2009
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Subject: Rice art

Stunning crop art has sprung up across rice fields in Japan. But this is no alien creation - the designs have been cleverly planted. Farmers creating the huge displays use no ink or dye. Instead, different colours of rice plants have been precisely and strategically arranged and grown in the paddy fields.

As summer progresses and the plants shoot up, the detailed artwork begins to emerge.

Rice Crop Art 1

A Sengoku warrior on horseback has been created from hundreds of thousands of rice plants, the colours created by using different varieties, in Inakadate in Japan

The largest and finest work is grown in the Aomori village of Inakadate, 600 miles north of Toyko, where the tradition began in 1993. The village has now earned a reputation for its agricultural artistry and this year the enormous pictures of Napoleon and a Sengoku-period warrior, both on horseback, are visible in a pair of fields adjacent to the town hall.

More than 150,000 vistors come to Inakadate, where just 8,700 people live, every summer to see the extraordinary murals.

Each year hundreds of volunteers and villagers plant four different varieties of rice in late May across huge swathes of paddy fields.

Rice Crop Art 2

Rice Crop Art 3

Rice Crop Art 4

Rice Crop Art 5

Rice Crop Art 6




Detailed Analysis
This set of images circulates via email and has also been posted to numerous blogs and online communities. The message that accompanies the images claims that they depict giant living works of art made by the careful planting of different varieties of rice. Although the images may look as if they have been digitally created in an image manipulation program, they are in fact real and are indeed created from rice plants as described in the message.

According to an August 2009 article published on Telegraph.co.uk, the rice field art tradition began in the Japanese village of Inakadate in 1993 but has now spread to other areas of Japan. Villagers and volunteers help plant four varieties of rice that grow in different colours. The farmers use computers to plan their art before planting so that they know exactly where to place the different coloured rice plants in order to create the giant images. Planting generally takes place in May and the images look their best by September. The article notes:
Each year a different design is on show and more than 15,000 visitors travel to see the creation. Images that have adorned the village fields include a Japanese Sengoku warrior on horseback, a giant frog and a butterfly. Another famous paddy art venue is the city of Yonezawa, in northern Japan, where this year's design shows fictional 16th-century samurai warrior Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife, Osen.

The farmers create the murals by planting purple and yellow-leafed kodaimai rice along with their local green-leafed tsugaru roman variety.
The following YouTube video provides another view of rice field art:


Creating giant images upon the earth is not unprecedented. The Nazca people of ancient Peru created vast geoglyphs of animals and geometric shapes by scratching lines into the Earth's surface as did other ancient peoples.

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References
Farmers create coloured rice 'murals' in Japan
The rise of Japanese rice-field art



Last updated: 27th April 2011
First published: 18th September 2009
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer