Battledore (hagoita)

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Battledore, Shuttlecock (hagoita)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Humanity


Hagoita 羽子板 Battledore, Shuttlecock
is a game like badminton, with a wooden paddle and little balls with feathers. It is traditionally played during the New Year Holidays.

..... oibane, 追羽子 "chasing the feathers"

battledore and shuttlecock, yaribane 遣羽子

to play battledore, hane tsuku 羽子つく

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Japanese girls have their own favorite traditional toys and games. One popular game that has been around for a long time is hanetsuki, which resembles badminton but uses no net. The shuttlecock is made from a seed with feathers attached, and the paddle, called a hagoita, is rectangular and made of wood.

Hanetsuki dates back over 500 years. The paddles are decorated with various images, sometimes executed in relief: girls in kimonos, Kabuki actors, and so on. While kids still like to play hanetsuki, many people simply enjoy collecting the paddles for their decorative value.
source : web-japan.org

The seed used to be from mukuroji 無患子 and was used with the wish to raise happy children.
Girls who played tried to keep the feathers in the air as long as possible - to raise children with a long life. It the feathers fell on the ground, the loosing girl (who was now out of luck with having children) got her face painted with purifying black Chinese ink and could start again.

. mukuroji, Sapindus mukurossi, soapberry .
kigo for late autumn

. The First Lunar Month 一月 ichigatsu - 睦月 mutsuki - .


- quote
Battledore Museum (Hagoita Shiryokan)
5-43-25 Mukojima, Sumida

This game reached Japan from Japan during the Muromachi period, where it became a pastime for the court nobles and their children. When grown ups played it in teams, the loosing part had to drink a coup of ricewine.

Normal children in former times had very few toys and the custom to use these badminton paddles for the special New Year celebrations soon became popular during the Edo period among the richer merchand families. It is said to ward off evil for the whole year.

During the Edo period, the patterns became more elaborate, featuring famous Kabuki players, the Seven Gods of Good Luck, the first sunrise, the plum-bamboo-pine trio and other auspicious scenes. Instead of simply painting the patterns on wood, it became a custom to make them for decorations only, use stuffed picture-art (oshi-e 押し絵) and put faces of favorite actors on it. Nowadays the pattern range from the traditional ones to baseball stars, movie actors, and even the pink kitty cat.
quote from . . . Sumida City


Woodblock Print by Okumura Masanobu
Courtesan Striking a Shuttlecock with a Battledore

Curtesy of the Allen Memorial Art Museum


Kasugabe Oshie Hagoita

Saitama prefecture has some places where Hagoita are made. The town of Kasugabe is one of them.
The making of Oshie-Hagoita is said to have begun in the Edo era (1603-1867) and they developed from Oshie on Sagicho-Hagoita which were made by first pilling up Paris white, gold leaf was then put onto this and finally a design was printed.
During an evacuation in the Second World War Oshie craftsmen from Asakusa came to live here, thus a producing center was formed.
Oshie-Hagoita is made by a portrait artist first drawing a figure, and an Oshie expert makes a copy of that, using thick paper, which is then covered with cloth and nailed to a board, thus they have the feeling of being three-dimensional objects .
source : www.sainokuni-kanko.jp

. Kasukabe Daruma Dolls - Kasugabe 春日部張子  


Hagoita ichi 羽子板市 market for battledores
observance kigo for mid-winter

Hagoita Fair at Asakusa, Downtown Tokyo

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A hagoita is a wooden paddle used in a New Year game similar to badminton. One side of the paddle is usually decorated with popular figures from Kabuki or portraits of beautiful women, but nowadays such "untraditional" portraits as popular animation figures and sports players also appear.
During the three-day-long fair from December 17 to 19, about 50 stallholders sell hagoita paddles of a variety of sizes and prices. The area within the shrine resounds until midnight with the sound of friendly voices inviting the shoppers to buy their waves and the hand-clapping which concludes a sale.

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. Asakusa Kannon 浅草観音
Temple Senso-ji 浅草寺 and the Market


Hagoita from the Edo period

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Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. tsurushibina つるし雛 / 吊るし雛 small hanging hina dolls .

The battledore is an auspicious present for parents, when a girl is born. It is given with the wish to strike back any bad influence and evil and the hope that the girl will grow up healthy and happy.


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Higashiyama shizuka ni hane no ochini keri

a shuttlecock
falls gently -

Takahama Kyoshi 高浜虚子

. Higashiyama Culture in Kyoto  


hane tsuku ya yogokoro shiranu oomatage

She straddles and takes long steps
As she plays battle-dore and shuttlecock,
Oblivious of the evil-minded world.

trans. Blyth

hane o tsuku oto no hibikishi yato no oku

the sound of Japanese
battledore and shuttlecock reverberates -

deep in Yato

Hoshino Takashi 星野高士, version by Susumu Takiguchi

*Yato 谷戸 
is a secluded residential area of Kamakura with leafy hills and valleys.


. - Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規 - .

At battledore
the girl of last year
not seen kana

tr. Harold J. Isaacson

yarihago no kaze ni joozu o tsukushi keri

Playing battledore and shuttlecock
While the wind was blowing,--
The acme of skill!

tr. Blyth


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yakusha-e hagoita ni umi miyuru kana

the picture of an actor
on a battledore –
seeing the ocean

Hagiwara Tokiya
Tr. Gabi Greve


LOOK here
Daruma on a battledore, Winter 2007

Related words

***** New Year (shinnen, shin nen) Worldwide

***** New Year Ceremonies of Japan
A topical Saijiki





Gabi Greve said...

Shiokumi 汐汲 人形 Shiokumi Dance Doll "Salt-scooping girl"

Gabi Greve said...

Fuji Musume 藤娘人形 Fuji Musume Dolls


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