ABOUT Iwaki City’s E-nobori picture banner
Beautiful picture banner with dynamic hand drawing is just for boys’ happiness
The Iwaki City’s E-nobori picture banner is originally from the Sengoku period (warring states period) and used for the samurai warriors to recognize who is the enemy and who is not. At the end of the Muromachi period (1336-1537), the warrior’s family started to decorate the banners with a family crest dyed in white. Later, during the Edo period (1603-1868), ordinary people followed that custom then put a variety of pictures on banners and developed it as the nobori picture banner. It is also called “Musha-nobori” (warrior’s banner) because its origin is from the battle-field. It is said that the banners with Red Carp Swimming up a Waterfall, a symbolic representation of aspiration, became Koinobori (carp streamer), the wind sock displayed for celebrating boys’ day.
In the beginning of the Edo period, the third federal of Iwakitaira clan, Yoshimune Naito, known as an elegant person who enjoyed Haiku and Waka (Japanese poem), recommended to make the town look fancy by decorating with nobori picture banners on boys’ day. Because of that reason, in the Iwaki area, Fukushima, a lot of dyeing workshops began making E-nobori picture banner and people have decorated with them on boys’ day as a local custom. Nowadays, when the parents have a new born male baby, the mother’s family sends an E-nobori picture banner on the first boys’ festival as a celebration.
As time goes by, fewer families decorate with E-nobori picture banner on boys’ day, and less craftsmen make them in Japan, but in Iwaki city, some craftsmen continue making E-nobori picture banner. In 1997, the E-nobori picture banner was selected as a prefectural government-designated traditional craft. The beautiful Iwaki scene with bright E-nobori picture banner waving under the blue sky can continue to be appreciated.