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The Traditional Carp Streamers of Kazo, Saitama

The video "Kazo Carp Streamers [Saitama Prefectural Government Official Sightseeing Video]"(加須の手がき鯉のぼり【埼玉県公式観光動画】)” was created by “ChokotabiSaitama,” and it introduces viewers to the traditional hand-painted carp streamers of Kazo, Saitama, in Japan's Kanto region.

May 5th is Children's Day in Japan. People put up carp streamers to exorcise bad spirits and as a way to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness. Kazo is known as the No. 1 producer of the Japanese traditional carp streamers.
It also creates the dynamic hand-painted carp streamer.
Carp streamers have become a Kazo specialty that every Kazo citizen is proud of.

This video will show you how these hand-painted carp streamers are made!
You can also visit the factory and have a factory tour.

The History of Kazo's Hand-Painted Carp Streamers

Kazo carp streamers were originally created in the early Meiji period (1868-1912) as a side job for craftsmen who usually made lanterns and umbrellas.
This traditional high quality handmade carp streamer gradually gained popularity and Kazo became the number 1 carp streamer town.
Masaru Hashimoto, a traditional carp streamer craftsman from the long-established carp streamer studio, Hashimoto Yakichi Shop in Kazo City, has been producing carp streamers for a long time.
Unfortunately, his store closed down in 2016 after 109 years of business.

Kazo Carp Streamers: How They're Made

1. Cutting and sewing (0:32)
In order to make these hand-painted carp streamers, you start by cutting the fabric into a carp shape and sewing it together.
2. Memawashi (1:07)
Draw eyes by using a special compass to draw circles.
3. Sujigaki (1:22)
Draw scales one by one using lightly colored ink.
4. Usuzumi(1:30)
Add color to the scales. Adding colors is the part that requires the most focus.
5 Kinbiki (1:49)
Add the finishing touches with a specialized brush.

As you can see in the video, the technique used to finish the painting process is very precise.
The masculine expression of the carp and intricate scales are drawn with the precise technique of the craftsman.

Gigantic Kazo Carp Streamers

As Kazo is known as the No. 1 carp streamer producer in Japan, they also make the world biggest carp streamer.
The jumbo carp streamer is 100 meters long!
The jumbo carp streamer, which was made by Kazo citizens, appears at the Tone river riverbed every May, at the Kazo City Heiwa Festival (Jumbo Carp Streamer swim).

Check out the event to see the jumbo carp stream swimming dynamically in the sky.
You can also see the carp streamers made with precise hand-painting techniques.
The main venue of the event is at Tonegawa Riverbed Park.
400 parking spaces are available, however, due to the popularity of the event, it will likely be pretty packed.

Even though these carp streamers are not the biggest carp streamers in Japan, you can see the carp streamers swimming elegantly under the blue sky at 2:23.
These elaborate carp streamers are made through a variety of manufacturing processes, and the video shows the traditional craftsmanship that has been handed down in Japan for centuries.

Kazo Carp Streamer Summary

Image of Kazo carp streamers
Photo:Kazo carp streamers

Kazo's hand-painted carp streamers are a very artistic and beautiful creation.
Every carp streamer is unique because they are all individually hand made.
You can see the traditional Japanese carp streamers every May in Japan.

Please come see the carp streamers or try to put one up in your house on Children's Day!

Written By
Oct. 1, 2020
Japan
坂崎 なお(Nao Sakazaki)
Interested in Japanese culture and traditions! I'll be introducing lovely scenery to you!
The Gorgeous Carp Streamers of Kazo Saitama; One of the Few Carp Streamer Towns in Japan. The History of These Handmade Crafts and How They're Made!
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