With a new Star Wars film coming out this year, you can imagine people around the world are excited. And Japan is no exception! With all the advertising and events happening, it can be hard to keep up with everything, but the next big Star Wars event in Japan has a distinctly cultural feel to it: Rice field art!

While you can find rice fields all over Japan, if you ever happen to find yourself in Aomori Prefecture’s Inakadate Village, you’ll be able to catch a glimpse of some of the most unusual rice fields in the country: Rice field art! Called tambo art in Japanese, locals of all ages, from five to 85, get together every year to plant rice of various colors in specific patters to create illustrations, like the giant image of Mt. Fuji in a field of rice we gawked over last year.

▼ Another example from 2010

InakadateWikipedia (Bouldernavigator)

But this year’s rice-planting featured some very specials guests from a galaxy far, far away. And possibly a long time ago. They’re space and time travelers, we suppose. Like David Bowie, but with fancy helmets.

▼ “Uh, Bob? I don’t think this is Tatooine.”
“Shut up, Larry.”

However, the stormtroopers weren’t here to arrest, shoot, or even menace anyone! Instead they were, um, guarding (?) the rice planters. Hey, it’s a great way to participate without wearing out your back, right?

▼ Conceptual art for the final field

The tambo art fields, which are created using rice in multiple colors planted in predetermined locations, draw up to 250,000 visitors a year. Not quite the same numbers as something like Tokyo Disneyland, but not bad for some rice fields!

As you can see above, this year’s Star Wars rice field art features a pair of well-known robots and a character from the new film. The art will cover an area of 154 meters by 69 meters (505 feet by 226 feet).

It’s a massive operation, as you can see from the photos, and many people participate. So how do they keep it all organized

▼ Is that what the storm troopers are for?!

▼ Or is Mini Darth Vader in charge here?

▼ And did Mini Darth use the force to change clothes between photos?!

Actually, it looks like nothing more than careful planning! As you can see in the photos below, the locations for each plot of rice are carefully marked off with vinyl string and areas are given lettered names so planters can find the right places. It looks like there are even some helpful maps!

In addition to the Star Wars rice field art, Inakadate Village will also be producing a field with art from Gone with the Wind. Frankly, dear, we do give a damn! This should be really cool!

If you’re skeptical about the whole thing, here are a few more fields from past years. They look pretty great to us!

▼ Here’s one celebrating tanabata.

▼ Sazaesan and family

▼ And here is a bit of classical art to add some gravitas.

The new Star Wars movie opens later this year, so we’re betting there will be a ton of other cool Japanese Star Wars events in the near future. If you’re a fan of the franchise and Japan, now would be a great time to start planning your calendar!

Sources: Tambo Art no Mura Inakadate via Japaaan
Image: Tambo Art no Mura Inakadate