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No Tinfoil Hats Necessary: See Amazing, Earthly Japanese Rice Paddy Art

Historically, when people have made crop circles, they’ve done so trying to pass it off as the work of aliens. In Japan, however, the people who join together to create art out of rice paddy fields are perhaps too proud of their work to give aliens credit for it. Or at least they should be.

“Tanbo art” is the practice of carving images into fields of Japanese rice paddies. So far, so crop circle–but the difference is that rather than mere symbols that look like magnified braille messages, tanbo art encompasses manga characters and historical figures like Napoleon. Cooler still, multihued tambo art achieves its color naturally, without any dye whatsoever.


Tanbo art, apparently, involves hundreds of villagers teaming up with a farmer to plant the rice by hand. Different areas are sectioned off with different strains of rice to create multiple colors. The rice is planted in the springtime with seasonal changes in mind, growing as the color of the crops turns in the fall. The results, as you can see in the slide show above, are so striking as to strain credulity.

It’s impossible to tell whether aliens are getting any sort of communiqué out of this phenomenon, but human onlookers get the message loud and clear; crop circles, please.

Have a look at some of the images in the slides above.

H/t to Kotaku. Read more about tanbo art here.JB