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.His and hers?

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.




E-book special of the month (25% off)...

Click to get 'Making The MBK Parachute Kite'

This printable e-book takes you step-by-step through making a 119 cm (4 ft) wide Parachute kite. It's not quite that wide in the air since the canopy takes on a distinct curved shape when inflated. This 14-cell kite performs best in moderate to fresh wind speeds. That's 20 to 38 kph or 13 to 24 mph. In gentle winds, this kite will hang in the air at fairly low line angles. In fresh winds, it pulls firmly for it's size, so small kids should only fly it while supervised!

Every kite design in the MBK Soft Series satisfies the following points...

  • Materials are plastic sheet, tape and line – and nothing more!
  • Tools are a ruler, scissors and a marker pen - and nothing more!
  • All cuts are along straight lines.

For the greatest chance of success, I make recommendations regarding the materials. For example, the type/weight of plastic, type/width of tape and line type/strength. Close enough should nearly always be good enough, since the design is well-tested and should be tolerant of small differences from my original.

Get the e-book for making the MBK Parachute kite. After making your first one in plastic and seeing how it performs, you can try soft Tyvek or rip-stop nylon for your next build.

The e-book is a PDF file - which means printable instructions to refer to while you make the kite. It also means convenient off-line access if that suits you better.



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Comments

Plenty of fun kite info, photos and videos - there's definitely too much here for only one visit! Feel free to leave your impressions of this site or just this page, below...



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Testimonials
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"Love the easy to understand step by step instructions, made from next to nothing materials and above all so much fun to fly... cheers Tim for sharing your well thought out pdf kite designs with the whole world.

Very satisfying making your own and watching them get air-born for the first time."

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"I decided to run kite making as an elective again on this camp in the past week - so I bought all your e-books, a bunch of materials, and then took a group of 10 high school students through making the kites over 4 days. We built a diamond, a Barn Door, a Delta, and two skew delta kites. Again - every single kite flew."

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Very detailed and USEFUL information - thanks for such a great book."

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"30+ years ago, I tried making a kite using the 'instructions' in a free kite-safety booklet. What a disappointment for a young boy.

 Your instructions and methods are wonderful. You help the builder to focus on accuracy, without making it hard. Also, you use materials that are durable, yet cheap!"

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thank you"




Kite-making e-book: Simplest Dowel Kites

This one's FREE
Download it now!



More E-books...





Wind Speeds


Light air
1-5 km/h
1-3 mph
1-3 knots
Beaufort 1

Light breeze
6–11 km/h
4–7 mph
4–6 knots
Beaufort 2    

Gentle breeze
12–19 km/h
8–12 mph
7–10 knots
Beaufort 3    

Moderate breeze
20–28 km/h
13–18 mph
11–16 knots
Beaufort 4    

Fresh breeze
29–38 km/h
19–24 mph
17–21 knots
Beaufort 5    

Strong breeze
39–49 km/h
25–31 mph
22–27 knots
Beaufort 6

High Wind
50-61 km/h
32-38 mph
28-33 knots
Beaufort 7