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Children's Day in Japan

This topic is Children's Day. There is Children's Day in a lot of countries of the world now.

June 1 : International Children's Day (The World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva established it in 1925)

November 20 : Universal Children's Day (The United Nations established it in 1954)

And, the day is variously in the world now.
For example,
(April 4)
(April 23)
(May 5)
North Korea
(June 1)
(october 12)
(November 14)
(November 20)

The day of Children's Day is really variously. Moreover, the way to celebrate might be various, and, how to celebrate exactly shows the culture. I introduce the culture of Children's Day in Japan in this time. Please enjoy!

At first, in Japan, the day is May 5, and this ivent Children's Day had been held from old times. However, this event in old times was for boys only. The adult prayed for the healthy boy's growth. But no problem for girl, because the day that adult prays for the girl's growth is other days. The girl's day is March 3 and that is called "Hina Matsuri". I had introduced the "Hina Matsuri" in other article. Please see it.

Hina Matsuri :

However, the boy's day May 5 was national holiday though the girl's day March 3 was not national holiday, so Japanese Government made May 5 Children's Day formally in 1948. And, the boy and the girl are congratulated toghter on this day.

And the culture from old has been succeeded to now on the day of the Children's Day in Japan. I think it is interesting for foreigner very much, so I introduced it.

"The Koi Nobori" is an important item at Children's Day. The photo above is a standard of Koi Nobori, and Koi Nobori is a big carp-shaped strreamer made of paper or cloth. It is belived that carp are vigorous enough to swim up Koi Nobori at "Tango-no-sekku" (formerly the Boy's Festival, now Children's Day) with the wish that their boys and girls will grow up strong and healthy.
Blue is children, and Red is mother, and Black is farther. However, present Koi Nobori is colorful.
Moreover, Koi Nobori was originally decorated in the garden of the house where the children existed. But recentry, the house where Koi Nobori is decorated is few, because Koi Nobori is very tall, very expensive, and it is May 5 only. Space that stores KoiNobori is not in the house because many of modern Japanese live in the city.

However, the city and the town decorate big KoiNobori.

Koi Nobori of 5000 or more is decorated here. Here is Gunma Prefecture Tatebayashi City in Japan. The number of KoiNobori of Tatebayashi City is top of Japans, and most famous in Japan, so many many tourist visit here every year. This Koi Nobori of Tatebayashi City is decolated from March 25 to May 10 in 2010.

Official Site (Japanese) :

Koi Nobori is decorated in the Japanese whole country in the beginning of May from the end of April. Tourist can see this Koi Nobori somewhere. If you come to Japan in this season, Koi Nobori is good tourist spot.

Koi Nobori symbolize strength ans success in life because Chinese legends say carp become dragons when they swim up whitewater rapids.

In the Edo period, families of samurai began celebrating May 5 as the day for boys. Today, families with boys display miniature samurai armor, helmets and dolls representing famous feudal generals and other heroes because they would like their sons to grow as storng as warriors.

The doll for girls is decolated at March 3 (Hina Matsuri) and that is called Ohina-sama.

Hina Matsuri :

This is the best also for foreigner's souvenir though this is a doll for the boys. The price is various. The doll in the photo above might be about 50000 yen. A small doll is several thousand yen. Moreover, this is sold at the season of Children's Day where, but in off season, this is sold only in the specialty store. If you like Japan, this doll might be the highest ornament in your house.

Children's Day, the doll is decorated like this. The Katana (sword) is decorated too.

The Katana (sword) in the photo is imitation. The possession of the Katana (sword) is limited in Japan now.

Samurai style is boy's yearning. Boys plays at Katana (sword) fighting always, and they breaks the thing in the house with Katana, so their mother is angry!!! Is it same in your country? hahaha

I must say one, this is one of Gogatsu Ningyo (Samurai doll for the Boy's Festival), and he who in photo above has name, his name is "Momo-taro". This is a fairy tale of Japan hero. "Momo" means a peach. He was born from the peach, so he is said "Momo-taro". Momo-taro is hero in Japan.

He is Momo-taro too. Gogatsu Ningyo has variously style.

(Easy story of Momo-taro)
He was in the peach when he was baby, and the peach had gone down the river, at that time, an elderly couple who did not have the children picked up the peach, and a baby showed up in the peach. The elderly couple named Momo-taro because he was born from momo (peach). Momo-taro was importantly raised.
Momo-taro to have grown up wanted to repay the kindness to the elderly couple. And repaying the kindness that he chose is to conquer the ogre.

(Easy story of Momo-taro)
On the way, the dog, the monkey, and the pheasant (bird) became Momo-taro's friends. And after the hardship, they conquered the ogre!

This is easy story though Momo-taro's story is longer and more complicated story. Anyway, Momo-taro is hero and all Japanese people knows this story. Therefor, Momo-taro is one of boy's yearning.

Children's Day, the event and the festival for the children are held in various parts of Japan. When the event appears to your travel, you are lucky. Please pay attention to the event when you come to Japan at this time of the year. It becomes a valuable experience of the culture for you.

By the way, I introduce traditional Japanese food at Children's Day. The photo above is the traditional food. It is called "Kashiwa-mochi" and "Timaki". Please look at the following.

This is sweet called "Kashiwa-mochi" and made from rice. A white part is Mochi made from rice and brown is sweet bean paste called "An" in Japanese, and green is leaf called "Kashiwa". People can eat this leaf with Mochi, but I don't like to eat this leaf. However, children and adult likes this sweet excluding the leaf.

This is a traditional food but this is not sweet. This is made from rice too, and has salt taste. Green is a leaf called "Sasa" and people can't eat this Sasa leaf. Take care. However, this Timaki is not usually sold, it is only a celebration like this Children's Day. If you come to Japan at that time, it is sold anywhere like super market. Please try to buy and eat. It is not expensive.

Children's Day is soon also this year, and children are looking forward very much!

How is Japanese Children's Day? I think that this culture is diffrent to your culture very much. And Japanese culture is also very diffrent to near country like China, North Korea, etc. So if we have chance to know the diffrence, it is enjoyment for us very much.

And about Japan, the feature is that old traditional culture or custom remains with modern. In fact, this appealing is for Japanese too. And Japan is smal island, and single race, however, the culture is different in each region. Food, language, custom, and scenic view, etc.
Do you know how to say "Thank you" in Japan? In Tokyo, it is "Arigatou", but In Osaka and Kyoto, it is "Okini". And one more, "How much?", in Tokyo, it is "Ikura?", in Sapporo, it is "Nanbo?". This is only part.
Even the Japanese cannot occasionally talk mutually. This is true! If I have chance, I introduce it.

Anyway, if you come to Japan, please enjoy!

Thank you!

Comment List

Helen 2014/05/04 (Sun) 04:15 Edit/Delete

thank you - this is very interesting