• Kyodo


While there are many “yuru-kyara” mascots created to promote prefectures and municipalities nationwide, the one for Shimane Prefecture has grabbed public attention as rice-paddy art.

Shimanekko, a cat mascot with the roof of the renowned Izumo Taisha shrine on top of its head, has been created as a two-dimensional art on a rice field in the city of Izumo, with different colors of rice species planted to reproduce gradation.

Local elementary school and kindergarten pupils helped plant those young rice plants in May, according to officials of JA Izumo, a local agricultural cooperative.

The body part is colored yellow with a special rice species called ancient rice, while the eyes and outlines are in black with another type of ancient rice, the officials said.

By September, the roof part will turn red to add a finishing touch to the rice-paddy art, they said.

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