Photo c. George Hirose.
Editor's Note: Celebrate Children's Day through performance and crafts making at Japan Society on May 6, 2012.
Celebrated May 5th, Tango no sekku
(Boy’s Day) is among Japan’s most popular national holidays. Traditionally, this festival was a day to honor male children and express hopes for their future prosperity and strength. In 1948, however, the Japanese government renamed the day Kodomo no hi
(Children’s Day) and it became a more general event celebrating the happiness of all children. Despite this change, traditions associated with this festival date back to its association with boys, and include symbols of strength -- particularly carp, samurai and oak leaves. As a result, on this day, families display kabuto
(samurai armor), hang koinobori
(carp streamers) from their homes, and eat kashiwa mochi
(rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves).
This easy and fun activity allows children to make their own koinobori
Printouts (page 1
, page 2
, page 3
Colored paper bags
1. Color and then cut out the shapes on printouts #1-3.
2. Paste the printouts on the paper bag (see image above).
3. Attach the string to the "mouth" of the koinobori
, then tie the other end to the chopstick.
is a professional storyteller, teacher, and visual artist, who incorporates story, song, and art to create multicultural programs for children of all ages. Tara has done teacher workshops and extensive residency work in the Tri-state area and has performed at the Japan Society and various other venues, including the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Her book, The Kamishibai Classroom: Engaging Multiple Literacies through the Art of "Paper Theater"
is available through Teacher Ideas Press (2010). Tara is currently a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Education’s Language and Literacy in Education division at the University of Pennsylvania, where she has also been teaching graduate-level elementary education courses on Children’s and Adolescent literature. Click here for Tara's website.