The birth rate in Japan is said to be at a record low and the government, media, society frequently discuss this issue but with not much success. Economic difficulties, less societal support structures (day care etc.) etc. contribute to the problem…
Japan has been historically celebrating Children’s day wishing healthy and strong growth for kids, primarily boys on May 05th. With the birth rate at record low for Japan, it is even more important to celebrate the Kodomo no hi, or Children’s day. Celebrations are visible across the city with Koinobori, meaning “carp streamers” in Japanese, carp-shaped wind socks traditionally flown across various locations. These windsocks are made by drawing carp patterns on paper, cloth or other nonwoven fabric. They are then allowed to flutter in the wind. The colorful fish patterns can be seen in streets, on balconies of apartments and also at various major attractions in Tokyo.Let’s start with the iconic Tokyo Toker
TOKYO TOWER : The iconic tower of the city, Tokyo Tower, every year has carp streamers at the base of the tower. The Tokyo Tower gets a really colorful makeover with the carp streamers flowing in the wind. There is a Koinobori song, well known in Japan which goes as below. Access to Tokyo Tower Google Map
屋根より 高い 鯉幟
大きい 真鯉は お父さん
小さい 緋鯉は 子供たち
Yane yori takai koinobori
ōkii magoi wa otōsan
chiisai higoi wa kodomo-tachi
omoshirosō ni oyoideru
Higher than the roof-tops are the koinobori
The large carp is the father
The smaller carp are the children
They seem to be having fun swimming.Numerically, the number of carp streamers at the Tokyo Tower equals 333, corresponding to the height of the tower which is 333 meters. People assembled at the Tokyo Tower seen enjoying a monkeys show on the Kodomo-no-hi, Children’s day.
ASAKUSA SENSOJI : The evening time at the Sensoji with the twilight blue colors, red color of the Gojyuu no Tou and the Skytree illuminations give the carp streamers in the sky a very oriental atmosphere…Traditionally, the set would contain a black koinobori representing the father, followed by a smaller, red koinobori representing his eldest son. Nowadays other colors are added depending on the number of children in a family and also includes daughters in today’s modern context.
Children’s Day takes place on May 5, the last day of Golden Week, the largest break for workers and also a week in which businesses usually close for up to 9–10 days.
HAMAMATSUCHO STATION : Landscapes across Japan are decorated with koinobori from April to early May, in honor of children for a good future and in the hope that they will grow up healthy and strong. The Peeing Boy Statue in Hamamatsucho also was dressed up in the traditional clothing and holding the carp streamer in hand. Loads of cuteness….
March 3rd, the Girl’s Day in Japan is not a national holiday, but the 5th of May is a national holiday. In today’s “gender equal” world even March 3rd should be a national holiday. Gender equality, yes, but am equally interested in increasing the number of national holidays.. 🙂