Kites (tako)

. tako 凧 Kites of Japan - Introduction .

Kite 凧 tako

wadako 和凧 Japanese Kite

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Flying a kite is a popular event during the three days of New Year Holidays. There are also contests of Kite flying in Hamamatsu and other cities. Some kites are so big it takes a whole group of grown up men to hold them. The patterns of Japanese Kites are sometimes very beautiful, heroes of legends and folktales are most spectacular. To find out about them is like an excursion in the stormy field of Japanese Samurai Heroes. But the diligent Daruma san has also won his place in this genre.

. tako 凧 Kites of Japan .
- - - - - tako-e 凧絵 pictures on kites

. Edodako, Edo-dako 江戸凧 Kites of Edo .

. Kanagawa 神奈川 three kites .

. Kyushu 九州 kites from Kyushu .

. toojindako, toojin tako 唐人凧 kite with Chinese face .


History of Kites in Japan

Kite Museums in Japan - 凧(たこ)博物館

Japan Kite Association "日本凧の会"

Kites with six corners 六角凧 rokkaku tako

Goods with Daruma kite patterns,
like nektie pins and others


Make a wish with “Kite-Flying”
and fly it high in the sky

January 2015

- source : tadaima Japan


The Kite Museum in Ikasaki, Shikoku

Kites from Japan and all over the World


〒795-0301 愛媛県喜多郡内子町五十崎甲1437番地
TEL 0893-44-5200 FAX 0893-44-5202

MAP of the Area

List of Kites from Japan / 日本各地の凧
Click on the buttons to see the various kites.


Daruma from Hatano - Hadano 秦野だるま

Daruma as protector of the silk cocoons.


. Kites from Kanagawa 神奈川の凧  .
abudako, abu tako あぶ凧 / 虻凧 kite like a gadfly
semidako, semi tako 蝉凧 cicada kite
shoogidako, shoogi tako 将棋凧 Japanese Shogi chess kite


Daruma from Etchuu 越中だるま凧

A kite with six corners.

. Etchu Daimon Kite Festival 越中大門凧祭り   
with more Daruma kites !

. Folk Toys from Toyama (Etchu) .


A long single tail is needed to fly this kite.
The birth of this kite is Hatano city, Kanagawa prefecture.


Big Kite from Tsugaru 津軽大凧
About 115 cm long and 90 cm wide.

Photos from Ishino san.


Sakurai no tako 桜井の凧 kites from Sakurai
common forms are fukusuke, horsefly, bee, butterfly and Tenjin sama.
They are known for their bright colors. They are "sodedako" 袖凧 kites with sleeves.

. Aichi Folk Art - 愛知県  .


Kurayoshi no Ika 倉吉いか
In the town of Kurayoshi, Tottori, the kites are not called TAKO (Octopus), but IKA (Squid).
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


. ikanobori いかのぼり - 凧 -紙鳶 kite like a squid .
speciality of Hakodate, Hokkaido

ikanobori kinoo no sora no aridokoro

this "squid" kite
in the same place
as in yesterday's sky

Tr. Gabi Greve

a kite flying
in the same place
as in yesterday's sky

Tr. and following comment : Chris Drake

A child or child with parent is out flying a large kite in the spring wind. As Buson or his persona watches from a place that has clear landmarks around it, he experiences an uncanny feeling when he realizes the kite is flying in the same part of the sky where he saw another kite flying yesterday. The open expanse of the sky seems to lead his consciousness to expand and oscillate back and forth between the present and the day before until linear time begins to recede and time becomes spatialized -- as open and borderless as the sky. This seems to be a kind of eternal moment in which he sees yesterday's and today's skies together as non-dual.
In Japanese, kinō, "yesterday," sometimes has the same open-ended meaning of "in the past" that the English word has, and many Japanese readers feel Buson in this moment of time out of time concretely feels or oscillates between the present and the remembered time of his childhood, when as a boy he watched a high-flying kite in the very same part of the "same" sky. The barely visible cord or string of the kite thus suggests the thread of memory that allows humans to feel they have a continuous identity and a linear life constructed of days and months and years, and it this cord seems to imply that humans can sometimes travel forward and backward in life narratives that are circular, like the sky.
Buson compared haikai history to a great circle in the preface to one of his renku collections, and he was surely familiar with the various circles drawn by zen calligraphers and painters, so I think this hokku is also setting up an oscillation between linear and circular or spherical time in general, as if we could have memories of the future. For example, perhaps Buson feels at this moment that he could already partially glimpse himself as he is now when he was a boy looking up at a kite. Since hokku (and painting) seem to give Buson access to spherical time, perhaps the kite in this hokku also suggests a hokku tethered to grammar and ordinary reference but flying beyond them and suggesting things in timeless time.
Perhaps this is why Japanese critics often refer to this hokku as evoking an experience of eternity.

Due to the ambiguity of the possessive or genitive particle no in sora no in the second line, it is also possible to translate the hokku without "as" at the beginning of the third line:

a kite flying
in the same place
in yesterday's sky

In this translation yesterday's sky becomes today's sky as well. Because of the grammatical vagueness, both readings sound natural in Japanese, but in English this second translation might strike some readers as forced or as a mistake. In some ways I like the second translation better, since it has a physical impact suggesting two simultaneous times. A less "contradictory" version of the second translation would go:

a kite now flies
in the same place
in yesterday's sky

- - - - - Chris Drake

. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .

ikanobori 几巾 is a kigo for the New Year.

Ikanobori 紙鳶. This means "kite", and don't let the straight-from-Chinese kanji spelling ("paper hawk") fool you: the etymology is "squid streamer."

But wait — Wasn't the Japanese word for "kite" actually tako, homophonous with and probably deriving from the word for "octopus"? Turns out that tako is the Edo word for "kite", and up until the great linguistic levelling of the Meiji period the Kansai area used ika[nobori]. The Nihon kokugo daijiten points out that in the deep north and far west, there's still another family of words in use, based on the root hata (perhaps related to hata meaning "loom"?).

So the "center and periphery" model of language change would suggest that hata was the original word, later supplanted by tako, itself later replaced by ika (at least in the Kansai region — presumably the center shifted to Edo before the word was able to fully propagate, Maeda Isamu 前田勇's Edo-go no jiten (江戸語の辞典, "Dictionary of Edoese") has an entry for ikanobori, but calls it a loan (着用語) from the Kansai area (上方). Of course, the real story is probably more complicated than a simple wave-based model, but it seems that kites simply weren't mentioned in much writing between the Heian and Edo periods, and evidence is scarce.
Makimura Shiyō 牧村史陽's Ōsaka kotoba jiten (大阪ことば事典, "Encyclopedia of Osakan dialect/words") has what looks like a pretty thorough if (understandably) Ōsaka-centric review of what historical evidence exists in its ikanobori entry.
source : no-sword.jp/blog

- quote -
A Famous Buson Haiku: Is It ‘Kite’ or ‘Kites’?
One of the peculiarities of the Japanese language is that while it’s does have a plural form for nouns it almost never gets used, mainly because the context that speaker is in dictates if they mean more than one of something. This gets a little tricky when it comes to reading haiku because the reader isn’t in the same physically present context as the speaker. . . . . .
- source : James Karkoski -


凧っ平 浅見 英男(あさみ ひでお)

for the year of the snake

Finally I want to introduce the kites of Mr. Hideo Asami. I met him at an exhibition in a store in Okayama City in 2001 and bought three kites all at once. Mr. Asami is very good with the brush, as you can see from the circle below the BIG Daruma kite. But what impressed me most was the writing of a special kite for my husband, rendering his name Bernard into "Beru (a bell) Naru (ringing) Doo (way)" , which he choose to write in chinese characters, making up a special version of the BELL part with a little bell instead of the strokes that belong here!

ベル鳴る道 beru naru do

浅見英男 Asami Hideo

My next best favourite is the BIG White, as I call him. He hangs in our Daruma Hall as if he was ment to be there. He is full of symbols of good luck: This very special kite has the most lucky charms on one figure (fuku o maneku Daruma Tako 招幸の達磨凧): The headband is in form of a pair of crossed herons, symbol for good marriage. The eyes in form of plover birds (chidori 千鳥), put on with wax to be shining. The chidori-form means your wish will be granted. The nose in form of the chinese character "To be happy" (yorokobu 喜). The ears in form of a gourd, with the Sanskrit characters for "A" and "Om", Beginning and End of all Things, on each. Symbol for a student who is studying all his life.
The beard painted strongly, symbol of good health.

The belly in form of mountains with the size of 7 5 3 (shichi go san 七五三), a lucky number for healthy children. General form of a rounded egg, since old times a symbol for good luck. Red color wards away bad luck, yellow brings money, purple expresses dignigty and the slightly pink face shows strong will.
The bow for the kite makes a sound when stretched to ward off evil spirits. If this much of lucky items does not help, who will? And the bells in the ear to wake you up from your dream about reality, the circle for the infinite truth...


from Kagawa 香川県

kite in the typical Daruma from だるまの形の凧
painted with
. Kato Kiyomasa 加藤清正 .

. my PHOTO ALBUM : Kite (tako)


- Legends about Kites - 凧伝説

In the village 久万高原町 Kumakogen
There is a 凧屋の八兵衛 Kite Shop run by Hachibei. When he went to get a bride, he came to a ghost house. At night he saw a light in the garden and wanted to flee, but his new bride told him that this was the hiding place of a golden stone (kin no ishi 金の石). Next morning he dug in the garden and found a golden cup under the stone. Soon he was the richest man in the village.

When children want to fly a kite (called 凧(いか) IKA in Osaka) and there is no wind, they call for a Tengu to help.
Tengu san, please send us wind. If it is too much, we send it back.
Tengu san, please send us much more wind. If it is too much, we send it back.

. Tengu 天狗と伝説 Tengu legends "Long-nosed Goblin" .

In Yamagata 山形県
there is a takokai 凧怪 "kite monster".
It comes out during daytime, looking like a normal kite, but then comes closer and bites people. It has a face painted on it, but in fact, it is a Yokai monster.

There is also a Yokai called
toppuutako 突風凧 "strong wind kite".
It comes out during a typhoon and blows around like a whirlwind and causes much damage.

- source : nichibun yokai database -

. Legends and Tales from Japan 伝説 - Introduction .


Bintulu International Kite Festival
Borneo International Kite Festival

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September 30 till October 3, 2010

. Reference .


. waraji tako わらじ凧
kite in the form of a straw sandal

This kite is made in memory of the great straw sandal from Mount Haguro. It is about 1 meter long and is used during the New Year celebrations.


. . . . . H A I K U

kite, kigo for all spring

kite, tako 凧 (たこ)
raising a kite, tako age 凧揚げ(たこあげ)

kite fight, tako gassen 凧合戦(たこがっせん)
kite fite in Nagasaki, nagasaki no tako age

paper kite, kami nobori 紙鳶(いかのぼり)
kite with picture, edako 絵凧(えだこ)
kite with Chinese characters, jidako 字凧(じだこ)
kite with YAKKO face, yakkodako 奴凧(やっこだこ)

kite like a fan, oogidako扇凧(おうぎだこ)
kite like a military leader's fan
gunbai, gunbaidako軍配凧(ぐんぱいだこ)

kite that makes a sound, unaridako うなり凧(うなりだこ)

Baramon kite from the Islands of Goto, Nagasaki
baramondako ばらもん凧(ばらもんだこ)
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line of the kite, tako no ito 凧の糸(たこのいと)
tail of the kite, tako no o 凧の尾(たこのお)

fine day for kite flying, takobiyor 凧日和(たこびより)

hooked kite, kakaridako 懸り凧(かかりだこ)
kite with cut line, kiredako 切れ凧(きれだこ)
"kite going wild", kuruidako 狂い凧(くるいだこ)

group of kite fliers, tako no jin

mostly in a competition

kire tako no kuru-kuru mau ya ocha no mizu

broken kite dancing
'round and 'round...

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue

Ochanomizu and Haiku

Kites as kigo in INDIA

. Black Kite, Milan noir (tonbi)
a bird of prey


source : hikaru
Kunisada : Kites of Edo

Folk Toys of Japan :
. tako 凧 kite .




Gabi Greve flying a kite said...

spring wind -
the mind just soars and soars
and soars

spring wind -
the kite just soars and soars
and soars

Look at it here:

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kites from Tokushima, Shikoku

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Tosa no tako 土佐凧 square kites from Tosa

even with a Lady Daruma !

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

The Japanese Kite Collection

a great resource !!

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kites from Kagawa

Marugame tako 丸亀 凧 kite from Marugame

Sakaide tako 坂出凧 kite

Takamatsu tako 高松 凧 kites from Takamatsu
Takamatsu no ika 高松の凧(いか)

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

kite with
Isshin Tasuke 一心太助 the fishmonger of Edo

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

rokkako 六角凧 kite with six corners
Shirone 白根市 - Niigata

with Daruma and other heros.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Mori village 周智郡森町 Mori - Shizuoka

bukadako, buka tako ぶか凧 Buka fighting kite
Mori no bukadako, tako 森のぶか凧 Buka kite from Mori village

From Sejiri in the the Terao district 瀬尻の寺尾地区, a region in the moutains with many slopes, so it needs a lot of skill to fly it. Made for the birth of a baby boy since the late Edo period. Some are mroe than 20 Tatami mats in size and the string can be up to 600 meters.
As a symbol for long life many are decorated with a crane and turtle (tsurukame 鶴や亀).
with a fierce shouting Daruma san !


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

mamakko ya tsugi darake naru ikanobori

this stepchild -
his kite covered
with patches

Kobayashi Issa

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

達磨の凧揚げ圖 Daruma flying a kite
Kurata Shootoo 倉田松涛 Kurata Shoto (1865-1928)


Larry Bole said...

More Kite Haiku:

yabuiri no mataide suginu ika no ito

Home just for the holiday
a boy servant in a hurry
steps over a kite string

Buson, trans. W. S. Merwin

the homeconing day --
stepping over a kite string
he marches on

trans. Ueda
Uedda's comment;
On the homecoming day, a live-in employee was given a day off and allowed to return to his parents' home. Each year the sixteenth days [sic] of the lunar first and seventh months were designated as such. Because "the homecoming day" is a season word for spring in the haikai tradition, the scene described here must be in the first month. A young worker, who enjoyed kite flying as a child just a year ago, is on his way to his parents' when he comes upon a younger boy flying a kite. For a moment he is tempted to stop and watch, but he reconsiders and marches on, anxious to get home.

yamaji kite muko joka ya tako no kazu

Coming along the mountain path --
Down there a castle-town,
Many kites a-flying.

Taigi, trans. Blyth

chi ni orite tako ni tamashii nakarikeri

Faling to earth,
The kite had
No soul.

Kubonta, trans. Blyth