Kites were invented by the Chinese about 2000 years ago and were brought to Japan by Buddhist missionaries during the Nara Period (710–794).
In time, the Japanese developed their own style of kites (the Japanese term is tako, written with the kanji 凧), with different shapes and different materials (they kept the bamboo frame but replaced the silk with washi, a type of Japanese paper). The traditional Japanese kite is painted in vivid colors, with characters from the Japanese folklore or mythology (heroes, gods, but also good luck talismans, like cranes or tortoises).
Today there are dozens of traditional kite versions, varying widely across regions and many kite festivals, including some of the biggest celebrations like the Japanese New Year (Shogatsu) and the Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi).
One of the most popular traditional styles is the one from this photo, the yakko-tako:
Click on photo for higher resolution:
Lens: VR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 22mm
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: