May 6, 2010

Colorful Carps


Another Children's Day tradition is the 'Koinobori (鯉のぼり),' which translates to carp kite.

A carp kite usually has a couple of colorful cloth carps strung onto a long bar that is decorated out a window. This is a tradition that started sometime in the Edo Era. It is based on a legend in China, where a carp swam up a river against strong currents and became a dragon. So like the carp in the legend, the people started this tradition in hopes that their children to be healthy and grow up to prosper.

The miniature Koinobori in the photos were taken at Midoricho Chuo Park in Shin Tokorozawa. There were over 300 of the little carps above the side path.


The little kids were singing a traditional Koinobori song while they walked along the path. So lyrics start out with 'Yane yori takai, Koinobori! (屋根より高い鯉のぼり)' which translates to something like, 'Carp Kites, higher than the rooftops.'

You can hear the whole song here:



I don't know if these Koinobori were higher than the rooftops, but they were great to look at, softly swimming with the wind!

12 comments:

Babzy said...

Nice tradition and beautiful kites , i'd like to have of these hanging up on my terrace ;)

Gunn said...

Interesting, colorful and nice!
I have to say that there were so many things that surprised me in a positive way, when I visited Japan some years back. (Graphic) Design was one of them!
Thanks for sharing your beautiful shots.

arabesque said...

when i was in china, one of our tour guide bought this when he was there
i asked him what it was then, but he couldn't explain it, he's using it as his welcome flag, ^0^
now i know what's it called. ^-^

Lois said...

How beautiful!

Leif Hagen said...

I love those fish flags! I've got one in my stuff at home somewhere I think...

VP said...

Beautiful kites and another interesting, and nice, tradition...

Kaori said...

Thanks everyone! Aren't the fishies cute? I'm glad we have this tradition! Next year I think I'll try to find a really big Koinobori ;-)

Tall Gary said...
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Tall Gary said...
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Rob said...

nice to have to decorate our terraces

Tall Gary said...

The top photo is so gorgeous. The other photos give a good feel for the atmosphere. The video inspired me to noodle around on shakuhachi. Maybe someday I’ll actually learn how to play that properly. Ha ha.

Al said...

Did you know that the Hiroshima Carp were once called the Hiroshima Carps until someone realized that Carps is not a word in English. Carp means both one and many, like many Japanese words, but not like many English words.

I went through Tokorozawa yesterday by the way.

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