Kodomo No Hi

May 4th, 2009 | By | Category: Events

imageKodomo No Hi is celebrate annually on May 5th in Japan.  The  day was known as Boy’s Day until 1948 when was declared a national holiday and was renamed “Children’s Day”.  Today families pray for the health, strength and future success of their children, both boys and girls, on this holiday that is one of four celebrated during Golden Week in Japan.

Over the years it has become common to celebrate Kodomo No Hi by hanging carp windsock called koi-nobori and displaying samurai dolls and helmets (kabuto).   It is said that because the carp can swim upstream in heavy currents it represents strength and the courage needed to overcome hardships in life while the samurai represents a warrior spirit needed to thrive and prosper.

Colorful koi-noburi made from lightweight fabric sway in the breeze from residential balconies and businesses while larger ones can be found in public parks. Multiple koi windsocks hang from a tall bamboo pole topped with a pair of gilded pinwheels and long red & white ribbons.   The number of koi corresponds to the number of boys in the family with the uppermost and largest koi representing the father and smaller koi for each son.

The ukiyo-e print to the left is part of Hiroshige’s 100 Views of Edo and represents  a view of Suidobashi (Suido Bridge) and Suidodai (Suido Hill) in Tokyo in the mid 1800’s with a close-up of a single koi-noburi and many more in the distance.

The sounds of children playing on a warm spring day under wind blown koi-nobori symbolize this holiday and the the hopes and dreams that we have for the next generation.  I for one will cheer them on with a hearty ganbatte (do your best)!

Image Credit:  Wikimedia, File:48 – Suido Bridge and Surugadai

WP Greet Box icon
Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates.

Join JapanSoc Today!
The #1 social bookmarking site for Japan-related blogs, news and people.

Japanese Street Art

Tags: , , , ,

One comment
Leave a comment »

  1. Shane,
    Am loving your blog as an extra resource for language class.
    I hadn’t seen that ukiyoe before.
    Thank you!
    Andrew J

Leave Comment