For All "Things" Japanese

The Online Blog for PingMag has the nicest way of showing interesting
Japo stuff. and it's not techno, it's not geek, and its not pop. Its just interesting. Which for change, is really nice. Here is an Excerpt of a recent post from PingMag.

May 5 is Children’s Day in Japan, a national holiday. In the weeks leading up to this day, large flags shaped like carp called koi nobori begin to appear, hanging from city apartment balconies, flying atop poles in farmhouse gardens, and strung in long lines across country rivers. This week, in honor of Children’s Day, we visited a hundred year-old koi nobori workshop in Kazo City, Saitama, and spoke to the third generation proprietor, Mr. Takashi Hashimoto. So tell me, what kind of history does the koi nobori have?

It’s a mystery (laughs). Well, they do say that it originates from a Chinese legend. Only the carp that can swim up the Yellow River can become dragons, or so the story goes. So, in connection with that story, people began to fly the carp flags up in the sky with prayers that their children would grow up big and successful. Or so they say. A certain encyclopedia editor came to ask me to clear up the origin of koi nobori for him once. That just goes to show how unclear the history is. But the custom doesn’t exist in China, and around the middle of the Edo period (late 1600s – 1700s) koi nobori began to appear in pictures by woodblock print master Hiroshige and other artists, so there’s no doubt that the custom started in the mid-Edo period. But I’m just a craftsman. I don’t know much about history.