Saturday, May 12, 2012

子供の日 Children’s Day

-But its mostly Boy’s Day

My son was born in December of last year so this is his first Children’s Day ever. Before my son was born I really didn’t care or know much about this particular holiday besides really cool, colorful carp kites are hung outside and neat Samurai armor/helmet displays are put out for the sons of the family. Now I know a lot more than I ever cared to know. Smile


I learned a lot about how much these ornaments cost along with what they symbolize for the children and parents. If you look closely at the carp kites are hung outside of people’s homes and over riversides you’ll notice that not all carps are the same size in a set. Usually the largest carps are the mother and father followed by a smaller carp being the son or sons. There’s no real particular rule about colors although it’s generally accepted that the largest carp of the family is the father and the red/pink one that is slightly smaller represents the mother. The kites can be found for as cheap as 105 yen at 100 yen shops or 100s of dollars for a large one like the ones in the picture above. Since I live in an apartment, we went for simple medium sized ones from a 100 yen store. I think carp kites really do a good job of getting me in the mood for a mild spring. Seeing the carps float in the spring wind is pretty therapeutic.


The Samurai displays (Kabuto) were originally intended for the first son but have now been marketed to any son you have in the family. This can potentially make it very expensive for a family with more than a coupe of boys. The displays seem to be as expensive as you want them to be usually averaging around 200,000 yen for a decent sized one. You can get them cheaper, closer to the 15,000 yen range but quality and styles will vary greatly. Plus its all about price in Japan. Most will go for the higher priced ones even though they all seem the same to the untrained eye.

Lucky or not so lucky for the parents (me) its usually the Mother’s side’s parents buy the displays. If you have a daughter the Mother’s side also is expected to pay for the girl’s version Hina doll set. I feel sorry for the grandparents of large families.

Kabuto come in all shapes and sizes but generally they come in one of the following:

Helmet only


Helmet and armor

2012-04-05 21.11.03

Since these displays are rather large and quite an investment my wife and I agreed that we would get a small one for the time being as we are not sure how much longer we’ll live in Japan. If we end up living longer, we’ll get an appropriately sized one. Here’s what we got. It’s quite small but it looks pretty nice anyhow. It’s only on display for a couple of weeks anyhow, so we won’t see it most of the time. Rolling on the floor laughing


I missed a lot of details on Carp kites and boy’s day Samurai displays. If you are interested in reading more, please follow the link below to Wikipedia for more information.

Children’s Day and Kabuto

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