Japanese Fish Kites

Technically Windsocks...

But popular anyway. For many years, maybe decades, people around the world have known about Japanese Fish Kites. However, strictly speaking, these brightly colored shimmering tubes are windsocks!

A couple of Japanese fish kites, in the traditional red and blue.

Being light-weight, open at one end and closed at the other pretty much defines a wind-sock.

Since these are such a major part of Japanese kite culture I thought they still deserved a page on this site.

This set of Japanese Cotton Carp Wind Socks on Amazon got mixed reviews - but it all depends on how you treat them and how long they spend in the sun!

In Japan, May 5th each year is a time of celebration for children. Funnily enough it’s called Children’s Day!

It used to be for boys only, but Japan has moved with the times so that both boys and girls can enjoy the day now.

On this day, fish kites and streamers are hung from bamboo poles outside people's homes, representing the male occupants. In fact, this goes for poles everywhere around the country, and even from the occasional car aerial! As the wind blows into the mouth of the windsock, the kite wriggles around giving the impression of a fish swimming upstream.

Traditionally, it is the fresh water Carp that is depicted by the kites. The upstream struggle of the fish represented the passage of a boy through to manhood. According to legend, when the carp reached the river source, it became a dragon.

Hence these creations are also known widely as Carp Kites. For the sake of correctness, let's call them Carp Windsocks!

The great photo below shows some pristine and very glossy looking Fish Kites, err sorry, Carp Windsocks. The traditional colors of red and blue are also present, on the far right.

Some colorful and very glossy examples of Carp kites, as they are sometimes known.

Photo courtesy of Rumpleteaser.

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What's New!

  1. Flight Report:
    KAP Mystery Solved

    Aug 25, 14 03:57 AM

    Last week I came home from a KAP (Kite Aerial Photography) session down at Brighton beach, here in Adelaide, South Australia. The photos were a disaster, being totally washed out. Over-exposed, to be a little more technical. At the time I thought the problem was purely the position of the sun, relative to the direction of the camera...

    Well guess what. Down at the same beach today, the photos had the same problem - and this time it definitely wasn't the sun. Camera damage seemed a small possibility since the rig had hit the sand at some speed last time, during a white-knuckle experience with the kite in rough air! Which turned out OK, but that's another story.

    Anyway, once back home today, I did a little investigating with the camera, taking some test pictures from the back yard. It was a great relief to find the explanation for the bad images...

    It seems that setting a fixed ISO is not a good idea for this camera in very bright lighting conditions. It can cause the camera to run out of adjustment room for other parameters, like shutter speed or aperture. When the camera was allowed to set ISO automatically, the exposure problem disappeared. Whew!

    The Tyvek-sailed Carbon Diamond performed wonderfully today. It was, for the first time, hoisting the KAP rig into the air. Never has the rig been so steady for so long. Sway was almost non-existent. But whenever I handled the line the camera twisted back and forth due to the rather steep line angle from the rig to the kite. Without enough horizontal separation, the suspension lines do not provide the maximum resistance to twisting. It might be an idea to separate the attachment points even further, on the flying line.

    The 2 meter (7 ft) Diamond was struggling to lift the camera in the fairly light winds coming off the ocean. At times, people on the beach had to duck under the line from me to the camera! The camera was behaving as a sort of aerial tether point, with the kite flying at a steep line angle from there.

    Measured at shoulder height, the on-shore breeze was about 4.5kph gusting to just under 7kph. More of a day for the Multi-Dowel Sled really, which hardly feels a 280g weight on the line!

    "Simplest Dowel Kites": A free but very useful kite-making e-book. Make a super-simple Sled, Diamond and Delta - step-by-step with photos. Sign up for the e-book and get an emailed series of messages called "MBK Tips'n'Ideas". If you don't need the e-book, consider signing up anyway... You won't believe what's on offer in that message series!

    Read More





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