In this workshop, the learners will make a Koinobori, a Japanese carp windsock, in honor of Children’s Day. In the Japanese culture, the carp symbolizes courage and strength because of its ability to swim up waterfalls. We’ll use references, like pictures and drawings, before making the Koinobori. Then, we’ll use our imaginations to choose the shapes, the colors (to paint or stamp the scales) and to build the structures for the windsocks.
Koinobori literally means “carp streamers”. On Children's Day, the Japanese people practice hoisting paper or fabric carp on bamboo poles. The families arrange the Koinobori vertically, representing each member of the family, in front of their homes. Sometimes, the Koinobori are lined up horizontally on famous streets or in parks during the Children’s Day festivals.
The Koinobori represents one of the main commemorative dates in Japan, celebrated on May 5, which is part of Golden Week. Golden Week is the junction of four national holidays in late April/early May, combined with some weekends, it becomes one of the people's favorite dates, causing much excitement in the cities. In my second year in Japan, I went to the Children’s Day festival in Kawagoe, a small Edo area in Saitama prefecture, and I saw several horizontal Koinobori. The wind makes them seem to swim in the sky! It was really beautiful.
I made my first Koinobori during my first summer in Japan, when I attended a workshop at a camp. I really enjoyed it! The kids who also attended the workshop were very excited about the project. The workshop instructor taught me one way of making Koinobori, using paper, then I learned other ways to make them on the internet, using fabric. I hope to meet you and teach you how to make a Koinobori!