JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.88


Boy's Day Celebration -Tango no Sekku-

Boy's Day Celebration -Tango no Sekku-

May 5th is a national holiday that celebrates children’s day. This particular day is called Tango no Sekku, or boy’s day celebration, representing one of five seasonal festivals. Originally, such festivals were brought from China, but since the Nara period (8th century) these festivals have become firmly rooted in Japan with unique local elements. Long ago, festivities were held at the imperial palace as a festival day for warding off calamity. Around the time when the warriors rose to power in Japan, this festival was widely celebrated among warrior families to pray for the growth of their children and prosperity of the clan.

In modern Japan, on May 5th, families with boys decorate their homes with warrior’s helmets, Satsuki dolls, and carp-shaped windsocks in order to pray for the healthy growth of their children and ward off evil spirits.

As Tango no Sekku approaches, every part of Japan is adorned in carp-shaped windsocks flying actively in the air. The tradition of these carp-shaped windsocks began in around the Edo period (17th-19th century) when they were adorned outside with the hope that boys would have good health and be successful in life. The Koinobori Carp Streamer Village Festival is held in Tatebayashi City, Gunma Prefecture, and it has become a famous festival for its carp-shaped windsocks. During the festival, you can see more than 5,000 carp-shaped streams flying in the air, mainly around the Tsuruuda River.

JGSDF Camp Somagahara is located in Gunma Prefecture. This camp is home to the 12th Brigade Command, 12th Helicopter Unit, and the 48th Infantry Regiment. The 12th Brigade is the JGSDF’s only brigade with enhanced aerial mobility, covering the four prefectures of Gunma, Tochigi, Nagano and Niigata.

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