Matsumotos Corner Vol.25

- Carp-Windsocks -

You rarely see them in urban areas nowadays, but I found them the other day. It was at Tokyo Tower. They are usually on display until around 5 May, Children’s Day, but until early June in some areas along with the lunar calendar.
Originating in the traditions of the samurai families, this custom of Koinobori started in the Edo period to wish for a boy’s success in life, honouring the carp, which is believed to be a strong fish. However, nowadays, it is common to display the Koinobori of family members on Children’s Day, celebrating children’s growth regardless of gender, with black representing the father, red the mother and the smaller carp below representing the children.

Some houses, in larger areas, erect a pole for each family of nearly ten metres high, displaying large Koinobori swimming gracefully in the blue sky. Also, lots of Koinobori waving in the air is a spectacular sight. Did you notice one different fish mixed in the picture? I heard this is to encourage the recovery from the Great East Japan Earthquake.