From PAUL OATES
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 color 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.
A Sengoku warrior on horseback has been created from hundreds of thousands of rice plants.
The colors are created by using different varieties. This photo was taken in Inakadate, Japan.
Napoleon on horseback can be seen from the skies.
This was created by precision planting and months of planning by villagers and farmers located in Inkadate, Japan.
Fictional warrior Naoe Kanetsugu and his wife, Osen, whose lives are featured on the television series Tenchijin,appear in fields in the town of Yonezawa in the Yamagata prefecture of Japan.
This year, various artwork has popped up in other rice-farming areas of Japan, including designs of deer dancers.
Smaller works of crop art can be seen in other rice-farming areas of Japan such as this image of Doraemon and deer dancers
The farmers create the murals by planting little purple and yellow-leafed Kodaimai rice along with their local green-leafed Tsugaru, a Roman variety, to create the colored patterns in the time between planting and harvesting in September.
The murals in Inakadate cover 15,000 square meters of paddy fields.
From ground level, the designs are invisible, and viewers have to climb the mock castle tower of the village office to get a glimpse of the work.
Closer to the image, the careful placement of the thousands of rice plants in the paddy fields can be seen.
Rice-paddy art was started there in 1993 as a local revitalization project, an idea that grew from meetings of the village committees.
The different varieties of rice plants grow alongside each other to create the masterpieces.
In the first nine years, the village office workers and local farmers grew a simple design of Mount Iwaki every year.
But their ideas grew more complicated and attracted more attention.
In 2005, agreements between landowners allowed the creation of enormous rice paddy art.
A year later, organizers used computers to precisely plot planting of the four differently colored rice varieties that bring the images to life.