Koinobori blue

History of Koinobori

There is a story that has been passed down for generations now about how koinobori became the official symbol of Children’s Day.

The word ‘koinobori’ is actually made of two words – ‘koi’, meaning carp, and ‘nobori’, meaning flag. 

As the Shogun were the most elite level of generals during that era, the method of celebration needed to be a first-class one. They decided to raise carp flags as they were considered a symbol of advancement and success. With the flags raised high and proud, they also prayed for the prosperity of descendants of the Shogun.

Whilst it was originally something exclusive to sons in the family, over time, the meaning of the koinobori has changed and now encompasses females within the family as well. Thus, by raising a koinobori flag, you are wishing well upon all children.

But why, do you ask, is it a carp of all creatures?

Indeed, there is actually another story behind that reason as well!

As the old Japanese tale goes, there was once a time when many fish tried to swim up the stream of a river named ‘Koga River’. The current was strong and thus many attempts were futile. However, a golden carp managed to successfully reach the upper stream and became a magical dragon.

The Japanese people refer to this story when defining the carp as a symbol of courage and ability to achieve goals. Of all the fish to attempt to swim upstream, only the carp’s strength and perseverance allowed it to become the first and only one to succeed.

During the Edo period, these traits were considered highly desirable in a male, and so the carp was chosen as the symbol of the koinobori. However, as mentioned earlier, the koinobori flag is now raised in honour of all children in the family.

Soon after the idea of raising a carp streamer was made famous by the Shogun, local commoners began to imitate the activity and thus began the origin of the koinobori.

Over time, people added their own additional flair to the koinobori. They included more colour around the carp flags and even added windsocks. All of these traits carried on over the years to land where they are today.

Afmetingen: 1 meter


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