Young boy with his kite
These kites can be up to 5 metres high and are flown with hundreds of others at the Hamamatsu Kite Festival held on Boy's Day the 5th day of the 5th month. Teams from the 70 districts of the city battle against each other trying to cut through their opponents kites lines.
Families with a first born son give a kite bearing the district logo to the local kite team who on the 5th May and with great ceremony, chanting, bugling and whistle blowing try to entangle their flying lines with those of other kite flying teams. Once the teams (between 50 to 100 people) get their flying lines crossed the teams then pull backwards and forwards on the line creating heat and friction which cuts through the oppositions kite line. The young owner of the last kite in the sky is supposed to grow up to be strong and prosperous.
Sometimes the families have to save for years in order to be able to buy a kite.
BAROMON KITE from Goto Island
Baromon means "inhumanly sharp bite". The shape of the kite represents the rear view of a Samurai Warriors helmet complete with pony tails and showing the teeth and sharp bite of a demon. It is also decorated with a dragon the symbol of strength. Traditionally flown to purify and ward off evil. The bamboo framework is one of the most sophisticated of all the Japanese kites.
SURUGA KITE from Shizuoka Prefecture
One of Japans early kites. Suruga was the old name for the
WAN-WAN KITE from Tokushima Prefecture
The Wan-Wan kites were one of the largest kites made in Japan.
They were made with 3000 sheets of washi paper, weighed about
2 tons and had a diameter of ninety feet. The tail and flying
lines were anchor ropes from ships and took 200 people to launch
and fly. These giants were flown in the strong sea winds on Tokushima
Island but sadly are no longer flown.
KITE SKIN by Teizo Hashimoto
Painted by TEIZO HASHIMOTO who was the last master Edo kite
maker in Tokyo. He was made a 'living national treasure' by the
Government for his contribution to Japanese culture and art.
The covering shows the very popular golden boy Kintaro and a
carp. Kintaro was abandoned in the wood by his poor parents and
was brought up by bears. He grew up to be very strong, healthy
and a friend of the Emperor. The carp represents strength and
fortitude as it swims upstream against all odds. The painting
represents strength, endurance, and valour and would be given
to a boy on his birthday.