Typical rural houses near Nara. It is late April or early May as can be seen from the Koinobori streamers fluttering in the wind in celebration of Boys’ Day on May 5.
The day is still popular and many a Japanese has nice childhood memories of singing songs like the following:
Often koinobori contained a drawing of the mythical folk hero Kintaro. The carp symbolized endurance, while Kintaro was a child of superhuman strength and courage. So his image was used in the hope that the sons of the house would 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.
Boys’ Day was originally known as Tango no sekku (端午の節句). It was one of five annual ceremonies that were held at the Japanese imperial court. The name was changed to Children’s Day in 1948 (Showa 23) to include both male and female children.
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.
Reference for Citations
Duits, Kjeld (). Nara 1934: Rural Houses, OLD PHOTOS of JAPAN. Retrieved on September 28, 2022 (GMT) from https://www.oldphotosjapan.com/photos/455/rural-houses
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