May 5 is one of the “seasonal divisions” that we celebrate during the year in Japan. We call this day Kodomo-no-Hi (Children’s Day), the day on which we express our hope that our children will grow up physically strong and courageous against adversity. One of our customs is to run huge carp-shaped windsocks called koi-nobori up a flagpole set up outside specifically for that purpose.
Sometimes villages will stretch a rope across a stream or between two buildings and hang enough koi-nobori to represent the whole community. It’s an amazing sight when the wind blows, making the koi-nobori appear as though they are swimming vigorously against an imaginary river current and leaping over imaginary rapids.
The Japanese words accompanying the image say “we are all connected.”
This etegami was painted across two washi cards. Etegami is a traditional Japanese folk art that combines thoughtful words with simple images painted on washi paper.