TOMORROW will see the Japanese Festival of Children’s Day celebrated in Coffs Harbour with a major family event at the Botanic Garden.
The garden’s Japanese section will host Japanese food, dance, art, games, ceremonies, stories, calligraphy and bonsai, and a fluttering cloud of 200 Koinobori carp flags given to Coffs Harbour by sister city Sasebo
All children and their parents are invited to come along, bring a BYO picnic and join in
Entertainment will include: karate demonstrations; the 14-piece Taiko Drummers performance group; traditional dance, games and storytelling group Kizuna; anime fashion parades; kite flying; a puppet show, bonsai displays and the Japanese calligrapher and performance artist Mr Hitoshi Yano (Ren).
Workshops will feature origami; calligraphy; sushi-making; manga mask design and tea ceremonies. Food will include sushi a Japanese barbecue; traditional Melonpan bread, drinks; Devonshire teas; confectionery and coffee and tea.
Ren (Mr Hitoshi Yano) lives in Australia and was granted a permanent residency visa thanks to his special skill for Japanese calligraphy in 2003.
Not only is he famous for his dynamic performance, but he has appeared in TV programs such as Nihongo Daisuki on SBS.
The 14-piece Taiko Drummers performance group, Kizuna is joining the festival from its base on the Gold Coast.
The Japanese festival of Children’s Day is a national holiday in Japan.
The holiday comes from an ancient Chinese story about carp, which swam up a waterfall and turned into dragons. They became symbols of perseverance.
The Japanese version tells of koi swimming up waterfall, but does not mention dragons.
Families fly giant carp windsocks from flagpoles for one month before the holiday and two weeks to a month after. These are called koinobori, or carp flags.
Originally, flags with symbols of strength, such as carp and the family crest were flown on the same flagpole and a fukinagashi streamer was also flown.
This symbolised the whip (busho) which samurai warriors carried into battle. The busho symbolised the samurai’s authority. Later other symbols were dropped, and only carp and sometimes fukinagashi were used.
The Koinobori were presented to the people of Coffs Harbour in 2005 by their sister city Sasebo in Japan, to enable them to understand the cultural significance of the Boys’ Day Festival.
Boys’ Day has since been renamed Children’s Day.
Coffs Harbour’s inaugural Japanese Children’s Day Festival won the single project category of the 2007 Australian Sister Cities Association National Awards.