(from July to August)

●花火 Hanabi; fireworks(通例複数形)
●花火大会 firework(s) show; firework(s) exhibition; firework(s) display
●花火師 pyrotechnist; fireworks expert
●打ち上げ花火 rocket; skyrocket
●仕掛け花火 set fireworks; a set piece of fireworks
●手に持つ花火 (toy) sparkler
●線香花火 sparkling fireworks; toy fireworks
●花火を打ち上げる (to) set off fireworks; (to) shoot off fireworks; (to) let off fireworks
●花火工場 fireworks factory
●花火師 fireworks manufacturer
●爆竹 firecracker
●のろし signal fire; beacon
●のろしを上げる (to) make a signal fire

The origin of fireworks is said to be from signal fires in China.

Later, fireworks from China were introduced to Europe through the Silk Road, and they became more developed.

The history of fireworks in Japan started in 1549 (Tembun 18th yr), when guns and gunpowder were introduced into Japan.

It was recorded that Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun of the Edo Government, saw fireworks from the Edo castle.

◆江戸時代 (1603-1868)に花火師達が命がけでその技を磨きました。
Fireworks manufacturers improved their skills during the Edo period (1603-1868).

Kagi-ya is the most historic fireworks factory existing in Japan today.

The sales clerk for Kagi-ya’s fireworks manufacturer was allowed to set up his own fireworks factory called Tama-ya, which is now immortalized by the calls of the crowds, “Tama-ya!” (The onlookers of fireworks display often shout “Tama-ya!” in place of applause.)

Tama-ya was more popular than Kagi-ya for a time.

However, Tama-ya was compelled to close its business because a big fire broke out in the factory.

The call of “Kagi-ya!” exists now, as well as the call of “Tama-ya!”

In the Meiji period (1868-1912), Japanese fireworks manufacturers adopted the Western method of creating fireworks, and were constantly improving their techniques.

Japanese fireworks manufacturers are proud of their high level of skill and originality in the world’s fireworks production.

There are three kinds of fireworks: toy fireworks, rocket fireworks and set fireworks.

Toy fireworks are sold at such places as toy shops, supermarkets, and convenience stores, for family use.
The most popular fireworks are senko-hanabi (sparklers), rokketo-hanabi (rocket fireworks), and nezumi-hanabi (mouse fireworks).

Fireworks, which beautifully decorate the night sky, are a very popular attraction, especially as a summer event.

Many local governments throughout Japan hold annual fireworks displays, mainly in July and August.

The famous fireworks displays are PL Hanabi-taikai (the PL Fireworks Display) in Osaka Prefecture, Nagaoka Matsuri Hanabi-taikai (the Nagaoka Festival Fireworks Display) in Niigata Prefecture, and Tsuchiura Zenkoku Hanabi Kyogi-taikai (the Tsuchiura National Fireworks Competition) in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Sumida-gawa Hanabi-taikai (The Sumida River Fireworks Display) in Tokyo has been held since the Edo period, with some interruptions due to wars and traffic deterioration.

Fireworks displays are held all throughout the year in some theme parks.

The best-known skyrockets are kiku (chrysanthemum), botan (peony), sidare-yanagi (weeping willow), sidare-sakura (drooping cherry tree), yashi (palm tree), and chocho (butterfly).

The set fireworks display letters, scenery, or shapes with several fireworks.

The famous set fireworks are the Niagara Falls and Star Mines.

Fireworks displays have become large-scale year by year.

Recently, people tend to demand vivid fireworks, with loud noises and big bangs rather than fireworks that take great skill to create or have original effects.

Fireworks sometimes cause fires and explosions, and onlookers of fireworks displays can fall over like a line of dominoes.

In the past, some of them became injured or were killed.

The most important thing about fireworks after all is safety.

(Please see “The West Japan Ohori Park Fireworks Display” in Fukuoka City for further information.)

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