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Tango no Sekku (Boys' Day)


May 5th is Children's Day in Japan. It's called Children's Day nowadays but traditionally it's known as "Tango no sekku" and families with a boy/boys celebrate this day by flying Koinobori (carp streamers) and displaying decorations featuring samurai helmets and armor. Let's get on the Internet and find out what it's all about!


 The following is a collection of links to Boys' Day web pages
 specially and carefully selected for teachers and students of Japanese.

About Tango no Sekku (Boys' Day)   端午の節句について

Site 1
Good brief explanation of Children's Day in English at the "Kids Web Japan" website's "Annual Calendar" page.
Site 2 Detailed explanation of Boys' Day in English at the "Ginkoya" website. (This page might appear with very small fonts. If so, click on "View" in the task bar, click on "Font size" and change it to a larger size.)
Site 3 Kodomo no hi web page in English at the "WikiPedia" website.
Site 4 Koinobori/Boys' Day web page in English at the "Japanese American National Museum" website.
Site 5 Nice Q&A page about "こどもの日" in Japanese at the website of a secondary school personal computer club (文化女子大付属杉並中高校パソコン同好会).
Site 6 "端午の節句" page in Japanese at the "ウィキペディア" website.
Site 7 "端午の節句" page in Japanese at the "日本文化いろは事典" website.
Site 8 Good explanation about "端午の節句" with some historical back ground in Japanese from the website of "晃月人形," a Japanese doll manufacturer.
Site 9 "端午の節句" page in Japanese from the website of "平安武久", a Japanese doll manufacturer.
Site 10 According to a press release ("2007年 五月人形商戦 今年のトレンドは?") at the Japan Doll Manufacturers Association (日本人形協会) website, about 570,000 boys were born in Japan in 2006 and 400,000 (70%) of them are the first son of the family. This year, the doll manufacturing industry is expecting a market of about 4.6 billion yen (about US$ 384 million!!) for what they call May dolls (五月人形), which include miniature samurai helmet set, miniature samurai armor set and others. Most popular set is the samurai helmet set (70%) followed by the samurai armor set (25%). Here are the price ranges for these sets:
  Samurai helmet set JY 80,000 - JY 200,000 US$670 - US$1,670
  Samurai armor set JY 200,000 - JY 300,000 US$1,670 - US$2,500

Tango no Sekku (Boys' Day) photos   端午の節句の写真

Site 11
Koinobori photo slideshow at the "" website. Go to this page and click on "View as slideshow." Some are not koinobiri photos, but most of them are pretty good.
Site 12 Nice koinobori photos from a personal webpage (Mon's ホームページ). You can click on each photo to enlarge.
Site 13 Some koinobori photos in Okinawa from the website of ""
Site 14 Some koinobori photos in Osaka from the website of "Osaka Prefectural Government."
Site 15 Koinobori catalogue at the "秀光人形工房" website. The lengths vary from 4 meters upto 7 meters.
Site 16/
Site 17
Catalogue pages of miniature samurai helmets and armors at the "広田屋" website. You can enlarge each image by clicking on it. Check out the prices as well. 
Site 18 A catalogue of table size koinobori at the website of "三池の鯉のぼり."
Site 19 A photo of a sales floor with many Boys' Day dolls on display at the "広田屋" website.

Tango no Sekku (Boys' Day) activities   端午の節句の アクティビティ

Site 20
Downloadable Kabuto (samurai helmet) paper-craft with instructions from the "Yamaha Motor  Company" website. Very nice. 
Site 21 Downloadable Yoroi (samurai armor) paper-craft with instructions from the "" website. Very nice. 
Site 22 Downloadable Koinobori paper-craft with instructions from the "" website. Very nice. 
Site 23 Origami kabuto (samurai helmet) instructions at the "高井くんのおりがみ教室" website. If you use a large sheet of paper or newspaper, you can actually wear it.
Site 24 Downloadable MP3 music files of Boys' Day related songs at the "太郎鯉" website. No. 2, 5 & 6 of the list are the traditional children's songs. To save these MP3 files, move the cursor on the "ダウンロード" button, right-click, and select "Save Target As."
 こいのぼり(やねより…) -
     No.5 こいのぼり(いらかの…) -

     No.6 せいくらべ(はしらの…) -

The lyrics and midi file for No. 2, 5 & 6 songs are available at the following web pages of the "
なつかしい童謡・唱歌・わらべ歌・寮歌・民謡・歌謡" website.
     No. 2 
     No. 5 
     No. 6 
Site 25 An online koinobori game at the "サイバー日本の行事" website (very silly game). The object of this game is to try to keep the koinobori flying up in the air as long as possible. Click on "start" and a red bar, a blue bar, a koinobori and a cat appear. The red bar is the wind velocity indicator. The blue bar indicates the strength of the rope that holds the koinobori. In order to keep your koinobori flying, you move your pointer/arrow in a circle in the screen to create some wind. If you move the pointer/arrow too fast, the rope becomes weak which will be indicated by the blue bar becoming short, and eventually the rope will break and wind will blow the koinobori away. So you need to move the pointer/arrow in a certain manner so that you can maintain the proper wind velocity. But that's not all. There is a cat that tries to catch the koinobori. If the koinobori is too low, then the cat will catch the koinobori. So you need to keep the koinobori high enough from the cat. When you start the game, the date is set on April 21. The longer you keep the koinobori up, the closer the date and the time will get to May 5. So the person who gets closest to May 5 is the winner of the game. You can register your record to compete with other people on the Internet. (Shock wave plug-in required) 



This page updated April 19, 2007


This website is presented by Shunko Muroya, Japanese Advisor, Alberta Education, Canada
Copyright@2007    Shunko Muroya