Who and what are being celebrated on 'Kodomo No Hi' (Children's Day), and by whom? These are the questions this slideshow is designed to provoke.
Several viewers have commented that they didn't know carp is a male symbol. From Wikipedia (and easy to verify elsewhere):
"Before this day, families raise the carp-shaped koinobori flags (carp because of the Chinese legend that a carp that swims upstream becomes a dragon, and the way the flags blow in the wind looks like they are swimming), one for each boy (or child), display a Kintarō doll usually riding on a large carp, and the traditional Japanese military helmet, kabuto. Kintarō and the kabuto are symbols of a strong and healthy boy."
"Each boy (or child)"? See "Women and People":
Part 1 youtube.com/watch?v=eimK-eVfLMI
Part 2 youtube.com/watch?v=ncwS47Fc-sw
Part 3 youtube.com/watch?v=QFracPoUwBo
A FEW STUDENT COMMENTS:
“Children” nearly means Boys
I didn’t know that Children’s Day was Tango no Sekku and that it was celebrated only by boys only until the end of WWⅡ. Now, Children’s Day is nominally celebrated by all children. For example both boys and girls eat kashiwamochi and chimaki. On the other hand, only boys only wear armors and helmets. Only families with boys fly carp streamers. From this point of view, it seems that Children’s Day has hardly changed since the days when it was referred to as Boy’s day. The only change is in the holiday’s name.
~ Shima Saori (Doshisha Women's College, 2012)
Why isn't Hinamatsuri a National Holiday?
All children are celebrated by their family on May 5th. It’s not a strange thing for us, but what we should think about is why the Japanese government changed “Tango no sekku” to Children’s Day as a National Holiday. Originally Tango no sekku was a day to wish for boys' health and there is another day to wish for girls' health. This is called “Momo no sekku” or “Hinamatsuri”. But it’s not a National Holiday. Why not? Both Tango no sekku and Momo no sekku celebrate equally important things : boys and girls respectively, so it’s not equal. Girls can celebrate Children’s Day by displaying Koinobori and wearing yoroi kabut with boys. Is this the reason why the Japanese government changed Tango no sekku to Children’s Day ? If that is the reason, why don’t boys celebrate Hinamatsuri? Boys can celebrate this day displaying dolls and wearing kimono with girls. I think this is a reminders that our society is still “male-dominated”. We should celebrate Hinamatsuri as well as Tango no sekku.
~ Miyamoto Chiaki (Doshisha Women's College, 2012)
Equality in Youngsters' Holidays
Children’s Day has become a national holiday to wish for both girls’ and boys’ health, but Children’s Day was originally only for boys and it was not a national holiday until the government changed it in 1948. In my opinion, it is odd that only Children’s day is a national holiday, because my family celebrates Children’s Day and also Hinamatsuri to wish for my brothers and my health every year. On May 5th we usually decorate YoroiKabuto. Kabuto means armor helmet. On March 3rd, Hinamatsuri, we decorate Hina dolls and celebrate girls’ health. For me both events have the same importance, so we should take a holidays both day and make these events equal.
~ Masui Misa (Doshisha Women's College, 2012)
Discrimination or Distinction?
I think “Children’s Day” is still a festival for boys and we need one more holiday for “Doll’s Festival” (Girl’s Day). Although the Japanese government renamed “Children’s Day” from “Boy’s Day” in 1948 and the Act on National Holidays (祝日法) says citizens must cherish their children’s personalities, improve their happiness and appreciate our mothers on this day, the present situation is different. According to surveys done by the Fujiya Family-Culture Institute (不二家ファミリー文化研究所), about 70% of men celebrated Children’s Day as youngsters, but in the case of women, the number is only about 50%. Some women said that they celebrated together with their brothers. Also about a half of the men who surveyed said they had had a carp-shaped steamer (Koinobori) which is the male symbol of strength and courage, and only 30% of women had it. From these surveys, we can see that “Children’s Day” is still “Boy’s Day”.
~ Yamakita Misaki (Doshisha Women's College, 2012)
The NHK program, “Trad Japan,” says that it’s cold in northern areas in March, so Girl’s day is not a national holiday. Boy’s day is a national holiday, but Girl’s day is not one because of the weather? This is “gender segregation”. At first, I did not care about this, because Boy’s day is called Children’s day, and therefore it includes girls. However, I reckon that it is just the name, and it actually focuses on boys and celebrates mainly them. I think Japanese government should make Girl’s day a national holiday, and then it makes sense in terms of “equality” between girls and boys.
~ Miura Yuka (Kansai Gaidai University, 2010)
The Japanese government renamed tango no sekku to Children's Day for "gender equality". However, they just integrated girls into the boys' celebration, such as having them wear armor and helmets. It is clear that the contents of Children's Day is still for only boys.
~ Oka Yuki (Kansai Gaidai University, 2010)
According to the text, Kodomono-hi is defined legally as a day to "respect children's right" but this definition was decided after WWII. Before then it was called Tango no Sekku. This holiday displays Koinobori and Samurai, and celebrates boy's success and health.
As the video says, Kodomono-hi is a day for boys and it is an official holiday, however Hinamatsuri is a day for girls and it isn't an official holiday. The video asks why, because the difference is weird.
~ Fujita Rika (Doshisha Women's College, 2011)
Who and what are being celebrated on “Children’s Day”?
According to the text, “Children’s Day” is a national holiday and it is a day to respect child rights and, to work toward their happiness. Before the end of WWⅡ, May 5th was celebrated as a day, Tango no sekku, to wish for the health and future of boys. Children’s Day is not only for boys but also girls. But in fact, the holiday is celebrated with koinobori, yoroikabuto, samuraidolls, all are associated with boys.
We also have a day to celebrate girls called Hinamatsuri on March 3rd, but March 3rd is a non-holiday. If Girl’s day were a holiday, Boy’s Day relegated to a private ritual, boys and men would get angry, according to the sideshow.
In conclusion, “Boy’s Day” was changed to “Children’s Day after the war, but it is still a custom which celebrates boys. We should discuss about the unfairness.
~ Morino Sakiko (Doshisha Women's College, 2011)
There are many holidays in Japan. One of the holidays is “Children’s Day” on May 5th. “Children’s Day” is based on Tango no Sekku, and difined legally as the day “to respect children’s right, to work toward their happiness.” The day is mostly for boys. Children display kabuto, warrior dolls and fly koinobori with parents or relatives. They are symbols of “Children’s Day”. The meaning of the kabuto and warrior dolls display is a way for parents to wish for their sons to grow healthily. They wish for their health, to be more powerful and future success.
In Japan, there is also a day for girls, called “Girl’s Festival”. “Girl’s Festival” is on March 3rd. On that day, girls drink amazake, and display hina dolls with parents or relatives before March 3rd.
There are some parallels between “Children’s Day” and “Girl’s Festival”. But the difference between them is holiday and not holiday. Why isn’t “Girl’s Festival” a holiday? Maybe, it’s because, in Japan, man’s position is higher than woman’s. Such idea remains in Japan firmly today. If “Girl’s Festival” were defined as a holiday instead of “Children’s Day”, what would happen in Japan? What kinds of influence would it have? It’s time to think about it.
~ Yoshizuka Arisa (Doshisha Women's College, 2010)