Thursday, 19 May 2016

Japanese Children's Day

At the Museum we ran a day to celebrate Japanese Children's Day (Kokomo No hi) which falls on 5th May. Families were invited to come along and celebrate this annual Japanese tradition to celebrate children's health and happiness. It used to be called Boy's Day but this was changed in 1948 to incorporate girls too.

On the day parents hang a carp kite outside their home for each of their children in order to honour them.  The kites are based on Koi carp fish, which are known to swim upstream to fertilise eggs; so they represent determination and strength.  Parents fly these kites outside their home in the hope that their children will grow up to have these traits.  At the event families could make their own carp kite to take home, and you can try making your own at home, just follow this link

They also display little models of samurai warriors, which are given to a baby boy at birth and then displayed in the home each year to remind the boy of bravery, nobility and moral qualities of the great warriors.  Boys often wear samurai helmets on Children's Day as it symbolises strength and courage.  We have a few examples of these samurai models in the Museum.


Top half of armour including helmet.
Model suit of samurai armour 1884.31.30
 ©Pitt Rivers Museum
Top half of samurai armour including helmet.
Model suit of samurai armour 1884.31.32
©Pitt Rivers Museum
Also on the day we had some Japanese storytelling by one of our fantastic volunteers Chris. He told three traditional Japanese stories to families. One story was about an old couple who found a baby boy in a peach and looked after him. When the boy grows up he wants to repay them so offers to fight a giant ogre alongside a dog, monkey and a pheasant!


Chris telling traditional Japanese tales in the Museum ©Pitt Rivers Museum

Carly Smith-Huggins
Families Education Officer




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