Koinobori Projects – Children’s Day


April Res. 2: WL-Koi1a

Originally uploaded by SOFennell

So, today is Children’s Day (Kodomo no Hi/子供の日), in Japan. It’s been going on since late afternoon yesterday, actually. I watched this morning’s NHK news and there was reference to it as well as a short video clip of the fish swimming in the breeze.

It’s been on my mind though, all month as most of the residency themes I’ve been teaching this month have centered on fish, so it seemed appropriate for students to make their own Koinobori (鯉幟)- flying carp windsocks. I’ll be repeating the same themes one more time next week.

I’ve been amazed at how fast the time goes, so there hasn’t been time for them to do the final seam and casing stitching at the project’s end. I’ve given them a little help to ensure these projects are complete. They slipped the wires in around the carp’s mouth though and did well with that. These are 2nd graders and are actually quite competent.

In these residencies, I’ve covered fish printing (gyotaku) putting them in context of a Japanese fisherman’s banner or flag, telling a folktale or two (Urashima Taro), singing the Koinobori song (in Japanese no less) and if I can squeeze in some language lessons, I do that as well. It’s a full week and I thoroughly enjoy the kids. They are so engaged.

Sometimes, I might even bring along my little black and white caterpillar “friends” (depending on the weather) so they can watch the development of the silkworm and that’s another little extra bonus.

Today, though is the day where Children are celebrated, although, in teaching this and singing the Koinobori song, I’ve come to realize that it’s not all about the kids, but really about family. The parent carp (ookii magoi・大きい真ごい) are the large black and red ones and the small ones (chiisai higoi・小さい緋鯉) are the children.

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4 Responses to “Koinobori Projects – Children’s Day”

  1. shiborigirl Says:

    ok- i am going to do this. i am working out a schedule with some neighborhood kids for some summer dyeing fun and we could do some shibori wind socks-

  2. neki rivera Says:

    sounds wonderful and the way it all blends in together, language, culture on hands crafts.oh and the silkworms!

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