Sunday, April 15, 2007

Giving my heart to “Koinobori”

Carp Streamer is often compared to the human's life from long ago.

It is also a pastime that gives poetic charm to spring season here in Japan. Every year in Japan, people make it a rule to hang their own Carp Streamers on top of the roof to celebrate the Children's Day, which is on May 5, one of the national holidays out here in my country.

I'm not sure exactly when this custom came out and where it was derived from. But it is said this tradition was one of the ancestral estates that symbolizes Japan's culture. It was taken over to us descendants over hundreds of years in hope of children's growth and the prosperity of tribes.

At first glance, it is grateful to us generation that such kind of tradition is still taken place somewhere especially in rural areas. You can take a look here and there while taking a journey in the suburb as well.

On the contrary, however such sort of custom went out of date over the past few decades in urban areas, even hard to find out whereabouts. I'll miss that a bit even I grew up.

Looking back the history, so called "Shinto"― polytheism indigenous to this country― seems likely the key to solve the mystery why this practice had been penetrated, then petered out over the period.

Meanwhile, a variety of religion in this country has become more prosperous before and after the world warⅡ. According to one theory, Japan was defeated in the world warⅡ because of "Shinto". But I don't intend to mention too much about it.

When I was a little boy and it was during in early 1970s, kids would admire the Carp streamer (or koinobori in Japanese) as their hope to become stronger, or regarded it as the symbolic term that represents the manly spirit. We would run about from place to place all the time watching and comparing with our own which one was the bigger.

But as years passed by, such kind of game was no longer their cup of tea. Kids are hooked on computer games and stuff nowadays instead of playing outside and having a lot more fun.

The Koinobori's season is now coming around. I am wondering how many kids will get the kick out of it, and completely get on like a house on fire all day long.