Vernicious Knids

Random musings and snapshots about life, love, travel and everything in between...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Let's go fly a kite...

Odako means gigantic kites...

There are a number of giant kite festivals in Japan and during Golden Week we went to this one in Showamachi in Saitama prefecture which showcases the largest kites in Japan. We were amazed by the intricacies of these kites...if you squint you can see the hundreds of strings that they manipulate to get it off the ground. It was quite a laborious process for them to do, about 30 minutes to get it off the bamboo racks, onto the ground and then into the air! The colours on the kite are significant - red represents the sun and green represents the ground. The kanji states the team name. There are two giant kites - from opposing teams - and they fight each other to get their kite in the sky first and keep it there the longest. There are 50 members in each team. The participants wear hantens (short white coats) and hachimakis (headbands similar to what Ralph Macchio wore in the Karate Kid movies). Kites have quite an important history in Japan; kites are given to first born sons as it's believed that they will protect and guide the new born to adulthood. It's believed that kites were first introduced into Japan by Buddhist missionaries who travelled from China in the Nara period (649-794 AD).

3 Comments:

  • At 2:46 am, Anonymous japanlover said…

    Who knew kites could be so interesting? Thanks for the detailed info.

     
  • At 1:08 pm, Blogger verniciousknids said…

    I must admit, japanlover, that until we visited this festival I didn't think they were particularly interesting either!

    Maybe the heat of the day got to me?!

    Thanks for visiting.

     
  • At 9:53 pm, Anonymous Antonia said…

    Fascinating stuff, thanks for the information :-)

     

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