Mistake took months to be noticed, but it’ll be sticking around.

As we head towards mid-summer, Japan’s rice paddies take on extra-vibrant hues, and some become doubly beautiful thanks to the recent trend of rice field art. By planting differently colored strains of rice plants in carefully laid out arrangements in the spring, or strategically leaving certain parts of the field bare, come summer beautiful images will emerge as an agricultural mosaic.

Motoyama, Kochi Prefecture, may not get as intricate as the towns that put together salutes to Godzilla and Dragon Quest, but its farmers have been creating rice field art since seven years ago, often using rice to spell out messages in Japanese script, which itself has a highly artistic quality. For this year, as Japan continues to struggle under pandemic conditions, Motoyama wanted to boost the spirits of people across the nation, and so they chose to write out “Ganbarou Nihon!” or, “Hang in there, Japan!” Perhaps to give it an extra-friendly feel, they also decided to write ganbarou not in kanji characters, but in the more rounded type hiragana phonetic text.

▼ Ganbarou Nihon

But rice field art isn’t like creating with a pencil or brush, where you can see the results just seconds after deciding what strokes to take. Even after the farmers have planned everything out and planted the seeds, they still have to wait months in order to see it. Rice field art is also too large in scale to comprehend while you’re standing right next to the paddy yourself, so you need a raised vantage point to really appreciate it.

With summer here, though, it’s time to see how Motoyama’s rice paddy art turned out.

Pretty good, huh? Sure, the rustic penmanship (ricemanship?) might not please some overly strict calligraphy teachers, but considering the medium the farmers are working with, the message is impressively legible.

…except, wait. In the video, the rice art looks like this…

…and Ganbarou Nihon is this.

See the difference?

It’s a minor one, but that extra horizontal line in the third character changes the reading from “ba” to “bo.” So instead of Ganbarou/hang in there, Motoyama’s rice field art says “Ganborou,” which doesn’t mean anything.

▼ It’s not clear when anyone first noticed the mistake, but it was visible at least as early as June 28, when this video was uploaded to YouTube.

However, this doesn’t mean that Motoyama’s art project for 2021 is a failure, If anything, the rice-rendered typo is bringing the field extra attention, which is in turn bringing extra smiles to people’s faces, if online reactions like these are anything to go by:

“I can’t hate this.”
“I think it’s wonderful that they’re just rolling with it.”
“I’ve got no problem letting this slide. It’s cute and soothingly heartwarming.”
“Definitely made me smile.”
“It’d be cool if the town started selling manju sweet bean cakes with ‘Ganborou Japan’ written on them.”

There’s obviously no undo button for rice field art, but honestly, the mistake wouldn’t be too hard to correct if Motoyama really wanted to. Since the incorrect bo character is the one with the extra line, all they’d really have to do is bring in some sort of greenery to fill it in and effectively “erase” the problem.

▼ Like this

However, there are no plans to do that. “This is the charm you can only get from hand-made art,” said the local farmer’s organization, “and we could all use a little laughter as medicine these days.” And really, the reminder that things can still be good even when they’re not perfect, and that even if we make minor mistakes things can still turn out OK, is uplifting in a special way that a perfectly spelled message would have been.

Source: YouTube/【公式】日テレNEWS via Golden Times
Top image: Pakutaso (edited by SoraNews24)
Insert images ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he apologizes to any Snickers fans for not being able to work a “great googly moogly” reference into this article.