Flying fish? Koinobori.

May 5th is called, Kodomono-hi/ Children’ day. A week to few days before this date, households that have boys in the family decorate Koinobori. There is wide range of size, but generally it is 30~50cm long. However, some families decorate large koinobori that are as large as 2m long, such as the picture below.



There are usually three to four koinobori that are father, mother and children and the size follow accordingly. Although this day is called, children’s day, it is a day for celebrating boys in Japan. Girls on the other hand have a day called, Hinamatsuri back in March. However, the day of girls is not a national holiday. I have always wandered why May 5th is called ‘Children’s Day,’ but only boys are celebrated, but also why only boys day is a national holiday, but not for girls. Maybe we can rename it to ‘Boys’ Day’??

Whatever the name is going to be, for adults having Golden Week is definitely a plus. I am just happy to have a break from everything!

4 Comments so far

  1. stuz (unregistered) on May 5th, 2007 @ 12:37 am

    Hi, one popular story that I have been told is that “mukashi mukashi” the death rate for young children was very high (girls perished before the age of three, boys at five), so to in order to celebrate their ongoing spirit and for superstition, 3/3 and 5/5 were to become hinamatsuri and kodomo no hi (boy’s day)…

  2. nightsea_ageha (unregistered) on May 5th, 2007 @ 9:02 am

    STUZ>Intersting… but I asked my mom that in the past, although at the age of 3 and 7 girls being celebrated and 5 boys being celebrated, she says that boys might used to die much more likely than girls. I wander what`s the real reason(s) is…..

  3. Martin F (unregistered) on May 5th, 2007 @ 3:57 pm

    I love koinobori! They look fantastic against the blue sky in May. Actually the countryside in Japan looks great this season. I just came back from Gunma pref. and so many houses had these huge carps in black, blue and red.

    I think sisters in families with boys are very proud on such days. It is not a matter of “Boy’s Day” but really a time for families to do something together.

  4. stuz (unregistered) on May 9th, 2007 @ 8:14 am

    k funny, i asked my mom myself she said the same as what your’s did.. hah! must be some conspiracy theory amongst japanese or just pure “ignorance”. i looked it up in a history book and it says that it was established to help create a national identity and stress military training for boys, and after ww2 the name was changed to Children’s Day to remove the emphasis on military training… that should clear things up hopefully… altho i like our parents story for pure sentiment :)

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