Rice paddy art celebrates 'Japan's Walt Disney' Osamu Tezuka


Perfecting the craft

The Inakadate village in Japan's Aomori prefecture has been farming rice for more than 2,000 years. The villagers have displayed rice paddy art (tambo art) every year since 1993. Local residents decide on the designs that will be on display and plant it themselves. This year, there are two different themes: this field depicts the film Roman Holiday.


Something for everyone

The fields have depicted famous works, both Japanese and non-Japanese. Previous years have featured Star Wars, Hokusai, the Mona Lisa, and Ultraman. The village started working on the rice paddy fields to bring in needed revenue to the farming village. More than 250,000 people visit every year to see art in a new way.


Remembering a legend

A nearby tambo art field showcases the famous works of renowned manga [Japanese word for comics or cartoons] artist Osamu Tezuka. The man was responsible for Japanese comic and animation classics, including Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. Tezuka is often considered to be the Japanese equivalent of Hollywood's Walt Disney.


Attracting tourists

The Inakadate village center gives people an excellent view of one of the tambo rice fields. The tambo art has attracted so many people over the years that there was a new train stop constructed right next to one of the fields. The stop is appropriately called Tambo Art.


Amber waves of rice

This year, there were 11 different kinds of rice that were used in the tambo art fields spread out over 2.3 hectares. The rice used in the art is harvested in the fall and consumed during local rice festivals.


Rock art also on display

Locals also put rock art on display, which can only be properly seen from above. Profiles of Princess Diana (pictured) and Misora Hibari (the "diva" of Japan's Showa era) were next to the Osamu Tezuka tambo art display.

Residents of Inakadate in Aomori Prefecture have been showcasing rice paddy art since 1993. This year, the intricate rice art celebrates the 90th anniversary of Osamu Tezuka, a prominent animator and film producer.