Having a public image is extremely important to a city or town. New York has the Empire State Building, and Nepal has Mt. Everest, however there are many towns with nothing very interesting in them which drives away foreign support.
One Japanese village by the name of Inakadate was having this exact problem. Nobody knew of the village, and nobody wanted to visit it!
This posed a real economic problem until a village Clerk by the name of Koichi Hanada came up with an idea.
Hanada had seen children playing in the rice fields, and as part of a school project were planting different types of rice. Some had deep purple stalks while others had green stalks.
It was at this moment that Hanada came up with the idea to make rice field art to attract public attention.
The first design was very simple, featuring only two colors of rice planted by 20 village volunteers.
Before long, the rice designs featured many colors, and thousandsof villagers coming together to plant the rice.
And before they knew it, visitors started rolling in. Officials estimated the visitor count to be almost 170,000 in 2009 alone!
The villagers started to create increasingly complicated designs. After a disastrous attempt at recreating the Mona Lisa, they started to use computer imaging to determine where each stalk should be planted.
There is pressure on the villagers to make better designs each year though. In fact, Mayor Koyu Suzuki attributes the large and increasing number of visitors to the surprise factor of each year’s design.
The villagers still have not figured out how to turn their designs into economic success though, as they do not charge to see their art displays.
They do however ask for donations, which raked in over $70,000 in 2009.
The cost of planting and maintaining the rice comes to a cost of about $35,000 which allows the village to make a net profit every year, however they could be making much more.
Other villages have given rice paddy art a shot, but none have lived up to the ingenuity and beauty of the ones in Inakadate.
Share and spread the amazing word of this beautiful art with your friends and family and let us know if you will go give Inakadate a visit to see these marvelous masterpieces!