My Tsukuba Life

Foods, Sightseeing, and Experience in Tsukuba, JAPAN

Celebrate Growth of Male Children with Japanese Samurai Armor on 5 May

Japanese parents celebrate the growth of male children on 5 May that is called as “Tango no sekku” in Japanese. My wife set up Kabuto (Warrior’s headpiece), Katana (Sword), and Yumi (Bow) to get ready for the celebration for our sons. Absolutely, they are imitations. The Kabuto in the following picture is wearable for children but it is too small for adult, unfortunately. My son seemed to feel uncomfortable to wear the Kabuto because its inside was hard.

Those items were essential for warriors (Samurai) to protect their life in old days so people expected that they also protect child’s life from accidents and diseases. People did not know about hygiene and did not have medicines to treat their diseases. Especially, young children was easy to lose their lives. Therefore, parents really celebrated if their children grew up.

Kabuto (warrior's headpiece), Katana (sword), and Yumi (bow) for celebration of Tango No Sekku on 5 May

Kabuto (Warrior’s headpiece), Katana (Sword), and Yumi (Bow) for celebration of Tango No Sekku on 5 May

I saw great goods in Tokyo International airport (Haneda airport) last year and I took a picture of it. Foreign visitors also enjoyed it in the airport as same as me. Many business men like me live in rented apartments those may be too small to accommodate the all goods for Tango no sekku although their sons would be happy with them. Therefore, they bought smaller and selected goods.

Tango No Sekku in Haneda International Airport

Tango no sekku in Haneda International Airport

Japanese parents also display Koinobori that is a carp streamer for Tango no sekku because they hope promotion of their children. People believe that carp streamer is a symbol of promotion because of Chinese legend where carp was able to climb the hard waterfall and finally turned into a dragon therefore parents hope that their sons also promote well and get good results like the carp. I selected appropriate size of carp streamer for our house. Large carp streamers are exhibited in popular places such as shopping malls like you can see in the following picture. My son asked me why the carp climbed the waterfall. I was not able to answer it because I did not know the reason. My son sometimes gave me too good questions to answer.

Koinobori that is exhibited in Iias Tsukuba

Koinobori that is exhibited in Iias Tsukuba

Tango no sekku is also called as “Shobu no sekku” where Shobu is a sweet flag. Peope believe that Shobu is a medical herb that can expel the bad air and demons. When I was a child, I had a bath scented with shobu leaves (Shobuyu), that parents prepared. The weather and the temperature are changeable between the spring and the summer as a result we tend to break down our health therefore we use Shobu to keep our health.

Shobuyu that is a bath scented with shobu leaves. This picture was cited from http://zakkaworks.com/

Shobuyu that is a bath scented with shobu leaves. This picture was cited from http://zakkaworks.com/

Celebration is often associated with special foods. Japanese had Chimaki and Kashiwamochi for Tango no sekku. Chimaki is a glutinous rice that is wrapped with leaves of cogon grass and steamed. It was brought from China. Kashiwamochi is a rice cake wrapped with an Japanese emperor oak leaf. Kashiwa does not leave old leaves until it grows new leaves as a result it has leaves all the time, indicating property of thrives.  People tend to have Chimaki in Kansai region (Osaka and other prefectures surround Osaka) and have Kashiwa mochi in Kanto region (Tokyo and other prefectures surround Tokyo).

Chimaki and Kashiwa motchi. Left two circular cones are Chimaki and right three rice cakes are Kashiwa mochi. This picture was cited from http://alica-fukui.com/Column/FoodDetail.php?11

Chimaki and Kashiwamotchi. Left two circular cones are Chimaki and right three rice cakes are Kashiwamochi. This picture was cited from http://alica-fukui.com/Column/FoodDetail.php?11

Through this research of Tango no sekku, I found its background and the culture. Tango no sekku has some goods and foods those have respective stories. Although some stories are associated with male children but others are not. And some stories are brought from China and others are originated in Japan. Japanese celebration, Tango no sekku, would be made by combining celebrations related to the children and other celebrations, and by combining Japanese culture and Chinese culture because they are held on the same day, 5 May. On the other hand, Japanese parents celebrate growth of their female children on 3 March that is called as “Momo no sekku”. How do people celebrate growth and promotion of children in your country?

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4 comments on “Celebrate Growth of Male Children with Japanese Samurai Armor on 5 May

  1. Ani
    2015-05-14

    Very interesting! Can you upload more pics ,please? The pics of Tango are so beautiful,amazing beautiful!!!
    Here in Bulgaria we celebrate 1th of June as the day of the children. I celebrate it too:)
    We celebrate children’s birthday too. We make party for the kid and invite all his/her friends to celebrate one year more – the birthday. All give presents and it’s a big fun. There is a big cake with candles equal to year the child makes. He/her blow the candles and make a wish….
    Greetings and congratulation for the blog,Fumiaki:)
    Ani

    Like

    • fumi7tsuku
      2015-05-14

      Hello Ani, Thank you for the messages. I believe this is my first time to receive your messages directly and am so happy with them. And, I’m so glad to know that you like the photos. The party that you mentioned sounds nice. A big cake would be necessary to share among kids and more attractive than Chimaki. Fumi

      Like

  2. Ani
    2015-05-26

    I am not sure about the cake and Chimaki:)
    Nice to meet you Fumi:)

    Like

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This entry was posted on 2015-04-29 by in Culture.
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