Rice seedlings planted to create image of Ohtani Shohei in his Japan hometown

People in Ohtani Shohei's hometown in northeastern Japan have planted a variety of rice seedlings to create a paddy field artwork depicting the Major League baseball player.

More than 100 people gathered at a rice field in Iwate Prefecture's Oshu City. They included local farmers, junior high school students and families.

The organizers, including rice farmers, decided to feature Ohtani in their artwork to vitalize the area. They set "Let's play baseball!" as this year's theme.

The picture of Ohtani and his pet dog Dekopin will appear as the rice grows, created with plants of different colors.

The participants manually planted seedlings one by one following lines made of tape. They used seven varieties of rice plants, including ornamental ones whose leaves will turn white, yellow and other colors.

A local junior high school student said she enjoyed the work. She said she was proud to have taken part in the event because Ohtani is a local hero.

Konno Kazuei, the project committee's chair, said he was glad the project showed local people cooperating and communicating with each other. He added that he hopes the paddy field artwork will make people smile.

The Ohtani image can be seen from late June. The peak time to view it is expected to be after mid-July.