For a moment the darkness is lighted
July 11, 2014 10:55 AM   Subscribe

Didn't get enough fireworks on the Fourth? Got fogged out? US holidays irrelevant anyway? "長岡花火大会2012年2日間の総集編 Fireworks the most beautiful in the japan" is 30 minutes of HD fireworks from the Nagaoka fireworks festival, one of several fireworks festivals in Japan. It has two segments, one each from the first and second night of the fireworks. According to Japan Guide, "both nights feature two straight hours of fireworks...The show's finale covers nearly two kilometers of the riverbank and is the widest span of fireworks in the world."

You can find many more Japanese fireworks videos on Youtube (including the "New Fireworks Contest" in Nagano), but how about some context? presents a short historical overview, "Fireworks by 'Hanabishi' Masters Blossom in the Night Sky". Begin Japanology: Fireworks, hosted by Peter Barakan, introduces us to some women who hand-make traditional fireworks. Fireworks company Marutamaya gives us the terminology to appreciate the four stages of a firework: uwari (sitting), bon (tray), kata (shoulder), and kie-kuchi (disappearing mouth). And while poetry might not be the first association most people have with fireworks, Kobayashi Issa (among others) wrote about them:

yo ni tsurete hanabi no tama mo okii zo

following the times
the fireworks...
bigger and bigger!

ichi mon no hanabi mo tamaya tamaya kana

even one-penny
ooo! ahh!

Ready to go?

P. S. Are there manga character fireworks? Of course.
posted by wintersweet (5 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Tsuruga has an annual fireworks show each year in mid-August, which coincides with the Bon festival of the dead.

The fireworks display has traditionally been underwritten by two nuclear power utilities. It is a long, massive, spectacular show. The barge is located out in the middle of the inlet, and everyone comes down to the beach to watch.

The fireworks festival marks the end of the Bon festival, several days spent in August marking the return of the dead to the ancestral home.

The festival or holiday or whatever ends in Tsuruga with people sending their dead relatives home. They do this by either purchasing or crafting a small floating lantern, and releasing the lanterns out onto the bay, where the current carries them away.

It's a spectacular, moving ceremony.

Miss you, Pops!
posted by KokuRyu at 11:05 AM on July 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Aw, I have been to this! I lived about an hour away from Nagaoka and saw the fireworks there in 2011. I was pretty tickled by the Pikachu ones (in the manga character link--there were also Pokeballs which I don't see a picture of there).
posted by sunset in snow country at 11:44 AM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

The fireworks really are beautiful, but what I loved the most in that Begin Japanology video were the faces and reactions visible in the crowd shots. That's the same kind of reaction I have to fireworks and it makes me happy to see in other people.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:20 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Wow - so beautiful. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by thylacinthine at 4:56 PM on July 11, 2014

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