IWATE, July 12 — Rice paddy art depicting Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani appeared in his hometown Oshu, Iwate Prefecture.
The creation of the artwork on rice fields was resumed following three years of suspension after a group of farmers volunteered to work on it in response to requests from local people.
The farmers said they hope Ohtani will continue to thrive just like how he is illustrated in the artwork.
Oshu had an organization entrusted with making rice paddy art of Ohtani, but the last time it created the art was in 2019 and its activity has been suspended since then due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the organization was disbanded mainly due to the aging of its members.
Even after the group was dissolved, people continued to visit the city to see the rice paddy art.
Amid numerous voices rising from local residents and the local tourism industry calling for the art to be resumed, a group of farmers in the city’s Atoroi district got together to make use of their ability. They formed a rice paddy art committee this year and decided to create the artwork again.
The members used rice plants of the Hitomebore brand and four ancient wild rice varieties on a 10-are land to create the image of Ohtani pitching in a Samurai Japan national team uniform.
The artwork is attracting tourists not only from within the country but also from abroad such as the United States and Italy.
Kazuei Konno, 64, head of the committee, said, “It would be nice if the rice paddy art cheered Ohtani up.”