Nima-kai Kodomo no Hi Traditions

Licensing

May 5th is celebrated annually in Japan and in Nikkei communities around the world as Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day). The day is celebrated by displaying koinobori—carp-shaped windsock with the carp arranged from largest to smallest in different colors to denote the father, mother, and children. Other traditional symbols and special foods include samurai dolls, kabuto (helmet), and kashiwa mochi (azuki-filled rice cakes wrapped in oak leaves).

Discover Nikkei compiled photos to share our global Nikkei community’s Kodomo no Hi traditions.

We recommend you use the slideshow view to check out the photos shared by our Nima-kai community.

*Presented in collaboration with the Japanese American Cultural & Community Center and Japanese American National Museum.

Slides in this album 

Kodomo no Hi Celebration, Hawaii, 1929

Submitted by: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA)

First Kodomo no Hi celebration for Michael Masaki, Waimea, Hawaii, May 5, 1929. In the center of photo is grandmother Matsu Mishima standing with two children, father Koichi Masaki is second from right.

Japanese American National Museum. Gift of …

First Kodomo no Hi celebration, Waimea, Hawaii, 1929
Contributed by: JANM

Fukumoto Family Celebrates Boy’s Day in Hawaii

Submitted by: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA)

Ronald and Kay Fukumoto hold their son, Mitchell, under a koinobori flying in front of their house for Boy's Day in Hawaii, 1994. 

Japanese American National Museum. Gift of the Ronald and Kay Fukumoto Family, 96.340.1.

Fukumoto Family Celebrate Boy’s Day in Hawaii
Contributed by: JANM

Infant Boy with Boy’s Day Doll & Koinobori

Submitted by: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA)

A baby boy, Dustin Ogata, dressed in kimono next to a Boys Day samurai doll under four cloth koinobori hanging from a bamboo branch in Hilo, Hawaii, 1980. 

Japanese American National Museum. Gift of the Ogata and Murakami Families, …

Dustin Ogata with Boy’s Day samurai doll and koinobori
Contributed by: JANM

Boy’s Festival in May painting at Tule Lake by Toshiko D. Hamaoka

Submitted by: Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, California, USA)

1945 watercolor painting by Toshiko D. Hamaoka titled Boy's Festival in May. Shows celebration of Boy’s Day with koinobori (flying carp banners) hanging from poles between barracks at the Tule Lake concentration camp in California during World War II.

Japanese American …

“Boy’s Festival in May” painting by Toshiko D. Hamaoka
Contributed by: JANM

Koinobori at Kumano Hongū Taisha in Tanabe, Wakayama

Submitted by: Jane Shohara Matsumoto (Los Angeles, California, USA)

In April 2017, My daughter and I decided that we were due for a mother-daughter trip and we on a hiking excursion through Kumano-no-Kodo, a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landacape. We trekked to Kumano Hongū Taisha (熊野本宮大社), a Shinto shrine …

Koinobori at Kumano Hongū Taisha in Tanabe, Wakayama
Contributed by: JaneShoharaMatsumoto

Koinobori in front of JACCC

Submitted by: Japanese American Cultural & Community Center (Los Angeles, California, United States)

From Hirokazu Kosaka: This koinobori was around 1990 when we started to have the Chibi-k run in conjunction with the Children’s Day. I had the father and son koi on one side and mother and daughter …

Koinobori in front of JACCC
Contributed by: JACCC

Raising the koinobori with G-chan

Submitted by: Amy (Gardena, California, USA)

When our son was born, G-chan put up a flagpole in our backyard and gave us the family koinobori. This year, our son was so excited when it was time to bring out the koinobori, and extra excited that he was big enough to …

Raising the koinobori with G-chan
Contributed by: editor

Two Sons

Submitted by: Mary Synada (Cerritos, California, USA)

Photo 1 of 2: Koinobori, Kabuto, a samurai doll

Two sons, James and David, deeply loved their obasans (grandmothers). Their would celebrate on May 5th their favorite Japanese tradition, Kodomo no Hi (Children's Day). Their koinbori (carp-shaped wind socks) would be flying on …

Two Sons - Koinobori, Kabuto, a samurai doll
Contributed by: jsunada

Two Sons

Submitted by: Mary Synada (Cerritos, California, USA)

Photo 2 of 2: Koinobori and Kabuto

Two sons, James and David, deeply loved their obasans (grandmothers). Their would celebrate on May 5th their favorite Japanese tradition, Kodomo no Hi (Children's Day). Their koinbori (carp-shaped wind socks) would be flying on poles. Two Japanese military …

Two Sons - Koinobori & Kabuto
Contributed by: jsunada

Chibi-K Run 1993

Submitted by Alexa Nishimoto (California, USA)

Photo 1 of 6: Chibi-K Run at JACCC

Every year, my parents would take us to Little Tokyo for Kodomo no Hi for the annual Chibi-K Run. I find comfort in seeing that the parking lot signage has remained the same throughout the years.

Chibi-K Run 1993
Contributed by: alexanishimoto

Snow cones at JACCC plaza

Submitted by Alexa Nishimoto (California, USA)

Photo 2 of 6: Snow cones after Chibi-K Run

One of my favorite childhood memories is going to Little Tokyo on weekends and getting snow cones at Japanese Village Plaza. Here I am with my cousin at JACCC after our run.

Snow cones at JACCC plaza
Contributed by: alexanishimoto

Post-run cool down

Submitted by Alexa Nishimoto (California, USA)

Photo 3 of 6: Snow cones after Chibi-K run

Me, my sister and our dad at JACCC plaza. Seeing photos of us eating snow cones brings a smile to my face.

Post-run cool down
Contributed by: alexanishimoto

Colorful Koinobori

Submitted by: Alexa Nishimoto (California, USA)

Photo 4 of 6: Koinobori craft

So many Kodomo no Hi festivities at JACCC! Here I am coloring a koinobori.

Colorful Koinobori
Contributed by: alexanishimoto

Chibi-K Run 1994

Submitted by: Alexa Nishimoto (California, USA)

Photo 5 of 6: Chibi-K Run

My second annual Chibi-K Run. Runners in motion; we are like the koinobori swimming up the stream. I started off with my sister and cousin, but I’m not much of a runner so I ended up far behind …

Chibi-K Run 1994
Contributed by: alexanishimoto

The Finish Line

Submitted by: Alexa Nishimoto (California, USA)

Photo 6 of 6: Chibi-K Run

I made it out ok! Enjoying a snack after the run with my sister and a family friend.

The Finish Line
Contributed by: alexanishimoto

A Socially Distanced Kodomo No Hi

Submitted by: Airybelle Uchida (Pasadena, California, USA)

This is Kenji’s first time celebrating Kodomo No Hi. Kenji’s dad and I are not letting the pandemic get on our way from celebrating our little 17 month old. Kenji will be enjoying some ice cream mochi at home and receiving lots of …

A Socially Distanced Kodomo No Hi
Contributed by: editor

Calvin, Boys Day 2000

Submitted by Kristine Aono (Silver Spring, Maryland, USA)

This photo shows my son with the koinobori that we hang on our door every May 5th. We hung one over his crib when he was a baby. That baby is now 22 years old. I hope these family traditions will continue for …

Calvin, Boys Day 2000
Contributed by: editor

Kodomo no Hi 80s Style

Submitted by: Shawn Iwaoka (Los Angeles, California, USA)

My first Children’s Day in 1982 at my grandfather’s house in North Hollywood. Gathered from right to left are my grandfather Takashi, great grandfather Masamitsu, and my dad, Masaaki, who’s holding me.

Kodomo no Hi 80s Style
Contributed by: editor

Chichi no negai

Submitted by: Hiro Izumine Omalley (Newport Coast, California, USA)

I believe that I was 5 years old at my parents home celebrating Kodomo no Hi in Tokyo Japan in 70’s. They wished me to be as healthy & strong as a samurai.

Photo taken by my father Michinao

Chichi no negai
Contributed by: editor

Boys day decorations - Koinobori

Submitted by: Lin Miyake (Orange County, California, USA)

Photo 1 of 4: Koinobori

Boys day decorations my parents and I have bought over the years.

Boys day decorations - Koinobori
Contributed by: editor

Boys day decorations - Koinobori designed tapestry

Submitted by: Lin Miyake (Orange County, California, USA)

Photo 2 of 4: Koinobori designed tapestry

Boys day decorations my parents and I have bought over the years.

Boys day decorations - Koinobori designed tapestry
Contributed by: editor

Boys day decorations - Kabuto

Submitted by: Lin Miyake (Orange County, California, USA)

Photo 3 of 4: Kabuto

Boys day decorations my parents and I have bought over the years.

Boys day decorations - Kabuto
Contributed by: editor

Boys day decorations - Scroll

Submitted by: Lin Miyake (Orange County, California, USA)

Photo 4 of 4: Scroll

Boys day decorations my parents and I have bought over the years.

Boys day decorations - Scroll
Contributed by: editor

Akachan's First Kodomo no Hi

Submitted by: Kendall Oshiro-Hernandez (Long Beach, California, USA)

It is our son Robin Kiyoshi's first Kodomo no Hi, and my first time celebrating as someone who is nikkei themselves; growing up, my family wasn't part of a Japanese American community, so I've committed myself to ensuring that Robin has what …

Akachan's First Kodomo no Hi
Contributed by: editor

Kodomo no Hi for My Boys

Submitted by: Haruna King (Pleasanton, California, USA)

We set up the kabuto and koinobori set, gifted from my parents in Japan, for our two boys. They also made a paper koinobori at their local Japanese school.

Photo by Haruna King

Kodomo no Hi for My Boys
Contributed by: editor

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Submitted by: Ben Makino and Sarah Rector (Porterville California, USA)

I’ve told my wife, Sarah, about how we had koinobori that we would fly on children’s day when I was a kid. So, this year, when the JANM had some special purple koinobori available, we bought one and set it up …

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Contributed by: editor

Album Type

online exhibition

editor — Last modified Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.


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