Boy’s Day Koinobori Chofu

Tango-no-Sekku (Boy’s Day) Koinobori Chofu 端午の節句鯉のぼり調布

Tango-no-Sekku (Boy's Day) Koinobori Chofu 端午の節句鯉のぼり調布
May 5th is Boy’s Day, or Tango-no-Sekku in Japan. Colorful koi (carp) fabric streamers, some gigantic, are flown from house roofs and condominium verandas by families with young boys. I found these koinobori chofu at a wagashi shop in Nara the other day, I hadn’t seen anything like this before.

Usually fish shaped wagashi are ayugashi, or wakaayu, which I love and reviewed extensively in this article last summer. This koinobori chofu (more about chofu) is a clever riff on ayugashi, but is made for Boy’s Day, or officially known as Children’s Day now. The koinobori, rather than ayu sweetfish, is the inspiration for the shape. The filling is quite novel too, the gyuhi mochi filling is flavored with orange jam!

The package is great, it really looks like koinobori. The koinobori (see photos below) is basically a windsock, fish shaped, painted or printed to resemble a brightly color koi.

Koinobori Chofu
Tango-no-Sekku (Boy's Day) Koinobori Chofu 端午の節句鯉のぼり調布

Why Koi (Carp) Shaped Streamers?
It is said that the koi, if butchered alive, or even cooked alive, does not panic and flip and flail about like the image of a fish out of water, or in hot sand, in Western culture. The koi stoically accepts the end with dignity and without panic. A koi on the cutting board or the hearth, it is still. Hey, when your number is up, your life is over — you are dead. Flailing around will not change things. So, it is much better to die a dignified death, in control rather than flipping out. This is related to the samurai ethic regarding bravery, honor and death. This behavior is what is considered ‘manly’ in Japan. (This is much more evolved than machismo, in my opinion.) Therefore, the koi is one of the important symbols for Boy’s Day.

Koinobori Chofu – detail
Tango-no-Sekku (Boy's Day) Koinobori Chofu 端午の節句鯉のぼり調布

Koinobori Chofu
Tango-no-Sekku (Boy's Day) Koinobori Chofu 端午の節句鯉のぼり調布

Koinobori Chofu
Tango-no-Sekku (Boy's Day) Koinobori Chofu 端午の節句鯉のぼり調布

Koinobori Chofu – detail
Tango-no-Sekku (Boy's Day) Koinobori Chofu 端午の節句鯉のぼり調布
Orange jam filling on the left and anko (azuki paste) on the right.

How did it taste?
This isn’t exactly gourmet wagashi but the yakikawa waffle was very tasty and quite mochi mochi (chewy). The orange jam flavored gyuhi filling was very good, the azuki filling in the other was average, nothing special.

Below are two images from last year’s Suetomi’s Boy’s Day/Koinobori article.

Koinobori
koinobori
photo credit: teseb

Koinobori – detail
koinobori-detail
High quality koi-no-bori are still hand painted and quite expensive.
photo credit: qa™design

One Response to “Boy’s Day Koinobori Chofu”

  1. Waffelrezepte says:

    Hmm daintily! ;). Thank you for sharing

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