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Koinobori (Yaneyoritakai)



Yane yori takai koinobori
Ookii magoi wa otousan
Chiisai higoi wa kodomotachi
Omoshirosou ni oyoideru

in 1931

Carp streamers

The carp streamers climb higher than the roof
The big black carp is the father
The little red carp are the children
Swimming happily alongside



baby with koinobori

In Japan, on Children’s Day, May 5, it is customary to decorate the eaves of houses with boys with carp streamers.


Although the name is “Children’s Day,” March 3, when peach blossoms bloom, celebrates “Momo-no Sekku” for girls, so it is said that May of the lunar calendar, which is the noon month of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs, became “Tango-no Sekku,” an event to celebrate boys’ growth.


Originally, “banners,” a type of flag, were erected, but in the Edo period (1603-1867), merchants began to display carp-shaped banners based on a Chinese legend that “a carp that climbs a waterfall becomes a dragon,” and this event is said to have become popular.

Boy's Festival - Fish Kites (1911 by Elstner Hilton).jpg
By from Portland, Oregon, EE UU – Boy’s Festival – Fish Kites, CC BY 2.0, Link


Initially, only black carp were used, but red scarlet carp were added to represent children. Later, the red carp came to represent the mother carp, the blue carp was added to represent the children’s carp, and for the first Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the green and yellow and other sibling carp were also created.


koinobori at balcony

Today, however, with the increase in the number of high-rise houses, the sight of carp dancing in the blue sky has become less common in large cities such as Tokyo, but in the countryside, the custom of decorating carp streamers of various kinds remains, delighting the eyes of tourists.

koinobori at Tsuruudagawwa (Gunma Pref.)


▼Another ‘Koinobori’ song.


▲It is a famous carp streamer certified by Guinness World Records.