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The day is still popular and many a Japanese has nice childhood memories of singing songs like the following:
屋根より高い鯉幟 (Higher than the roof-tops are the koinobori)
大きな真鯉はお父さん (The large Black Carp is the father)
小さな緋鯉は子供たち (The smaller Golden Carp are the children)
面白そうに泳いでる (They seem to be having fun swimming)
Image of Kintaro on Koinobori
Often koinobori contain a drawing of the mythical folk hero Kintaro. The carp symbolizes endurance, while Kintaro was a child of superhuman strength and courage, so his image is used in the hope that the sons of the house will become equally brave and strong.
Kintaro’s story is believed to have been based on the life of a warrior called Sakata no Kintoki (坂田公時) who lived during the Heian Period (794-1185). There is a shrine, called Kintoki Shrine (公時神社 or 金時神社), dedicated to Kintaro at the foot of Hakone‘s Mt. Kintoki.
This glass slide is one of a series of slides of Japan that was used by the New York State Education Department to teach students about Japan.