Koinobori, Children's Day, Mingei at Muji, and You You Ang Incense
Posted on May 03 2021
In Japan May 5th is Children's day and we celebrate with the traditional Koinobori, which are known as carp streamers, and would air swim when the wind passes through them !
Koinobori (鯉のぼり), is the name for "carp streamer" in Japanese, which are made by drawing carp patterns on paper, cloth or other non-woven fabric, and among which the nylon is the most popular fabric used to make koinobori nowadays in Japan.
Koinobori would be hung out of house windows all over Japan since end April to early May, to celebrate the Tango no Sekku festival (端午の節句), which is now designated more as the national holiday, the Children's Day (Kodomo no Hi, 子供の日), in honor of children for a good future, and in the hope that they will grow up healthy and strong !
Traditionally, a typical koinobori set, called flying-dragon streamer (飛龍吹流し hiryū fukinagashi), which consists of, from the top of the pole down, a pair of arrow-spoked wheels (矢車 yaguruma) with a ball-shaped spinning vane.
These koinobori range from a few centimetres to a few metres long. In 1988, a 100m long koinobori weighing 350kg was made in Kazo, Saitama.
The koinobori set traditionally contains a black koinobori, which represents the father, followed by a smaller, red koinobori representing his eldest son.
If there are more boys in the household, an additional blue or green koinobori would be added, and then, depending on the region, either purple or orange koinobori will be used instead. After the government's decree that converted Boy's Day into the present Children's Day (Kodomo no Hi), the holiday came to celebrate the happiness of both boys and girls now. At present, the koinobori are commonly flown above the roofs of houses, with the biggest (black) koinobori for the father, next biggest (red or pink) for the mother, and an additional, smaller carp of a different color for each child in decreasing order by age.
The carp was chosen as a symbol for Childrens Day because Japanese consider it the most spirited fish, with full of energy and power that it can fight its way up swift-running streams and cascades. Because of its strength and determination to overcome all obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals.
Since these are also traits desired in boys, samurai warrior figurines and samurai kabuto helmets are also displayed in homes to inspire strength and bravery.
Children's Day, has been celebrated for more than 700 years, but no one knows exactly when or why it began. One story says that it started in the year 1282, as a celebration for a victory won by samurai warriors in a battle with invaders.
Mingei Exhibition at Muji Ginza
Message from the curator Naoto Fukasawa:
Some people say MUJI items are examples of modern mingei (folk crafts) or mingu (folk utensils).
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