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

CLICK for many more photos CLICK for more photos


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


. Atago shrine in Tokyo 愛宕神社 Atago Jinja .


- quote
Edo Oshi-e Hagoita - Padded Collage Paddles

■Traditional Technologies and Techniques
Creating the Oshi-e (padded collages) that feature in Edo Oshi-e Hagoita (padded collage paddles) involves stuffing cotton wadding between a stencil outline and a fabric base. The finished Oshi-e is then affixed to a Hagoita (a paddle) with paste using a spatula.
The faces of characters featured on Edo Oshi-e Hagoita are created after a surface has been smoothed by the application of successive layers of gofun (crushed seashell powder). A fine-tipped brush is used to create the face's eyes, its mouth, and the nose.
Oshi-e collages are comprised of a number of smaller elements. The constructing of a finished Oshi-e involves applying Japanese paper to the back of each element as it is completed. This process involves the use of a spatula and paste.

■Traditionally Used Raw Materials
Paulownia wood is used for the Hagoita paddles.
Silk and cotton textiles are used to make Oshi-e. Cotton wadding is used to fill out the pictures.
Silk thread is used for hair.

■History and Characteristics
Each year, when people start to feel the onset of the year's end, as part of a long-standing tradition, there is a market selling Hagoita including Edo Oshi-e Hagoita (padded collage paddles) which occurs from December 17th to 19th. This event takes place in the grounds of Asakusa Temple in Taito Ward, Tokyo. Within each of the participating stalls, there are an amazing number of colorful Hagoita displayed which look out on interested visitors. It is a well-known event that both strikes up business as well as welcomes the end of the current year.

Hagoita were originally used to play a form of Japanese battledore (a forerunner of badminton). In ancient times, "Hagoita" were referred to by the names "Kogiita" and "Hanekoita," while shuttlecocks were known by names such as "Koginoko," "Hagonoko" and "Tsukubane."

On the 5th day of the first month in the fourth year of the Eikyo Era (1429-1441), it is recorded that members of the imperial family, the aristocracy and their attendants all gathered at an imperial palace. And they engaged in a game using Hagoita paddles being divided into teams of men and women.

At the time, Hagoita were decorated in a number of ways. One decorative style was called "Kaki-e Hagoita," which involved pictures being drawn directly on the surface of a paddle. There was also a style called "Hari-e Hagoita," where paper and cloth was affixed to paddles. Additionally, there were extravagant and flashy "Sagicho Hagoita" colored with "gofun," and some examples went so far as to be inlayed with gold and silver leaf, or decorated with maki-e (gold or silver lacquer).

On entering the Edo Period (1603-1868), decorations began to be made in which material was stuck to thick cardboard backings, or cotton wadding was used to add thickness. It was through such methods that the Oshi-e techniques developed, and these techniques resulted in it being possible to create collages with a three-dimensional visual effect.

During the Bunka and Bunsei Eras (1804-1829), as the culture of the common classes in Edo developed, along with a boom in Kabuki, there was a lot of work published by the numerous woodblock artists who were active at the time.

Against this backcloth, there were advances in the technology used to make Oshi-e and it was possible to make Hagoita on which the likenesses of famous Kabuki actors were featured, this genre being called "Yakusha (actor) Hagoita."

As each year drew to a close, there used to be competitive demand for the role depictions of that year's popular Kabuki stars. In this respect, the sale of Yakusha Hagoita acted as a barometer of actors' popularity in any particular year.

Tokyo Hina Doll Manufacturing Association
(also available in Japanese)
- source : www.sangyo-rodo.metro.tokyo.jp/shoko

. Traditional Crafts of Tokyo and Edo .


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.

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

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


Hagoita from the Edo period

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

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.


. . . CLICK here for Photos !


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


. Sukeroku 助六 - Hero of Edo .
Information and haiku


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


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

23 Edo Oshi-e Hagoita (Padded Collage Paddles)


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

MORE about

oshi-e 押し絵 / 押絵 raised cloth picture

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Sadowara mingei 佐土原民芸 folk art and crafts from Sadowara

. Miyazaki Folk Art 宮崎県 Kyushu .
Sadowara hagoita 佐土原羽子板 battledore (to play with)
Sadowara kazari hagoita 佐土原飾り羽子板 battledore as decoration
The battledore for play is about 20 cm long and rather wide.
Girls used them during the New Year celebrations until the beginning of the Showa period.

The battledore for decoration is about 70 cm ling and 15 cm wide.
The motive here is Tokiwa Gozen with her torn hat, embracing the baby Minamoto no Yoshitsune.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

wooden battledore with Daruma painting

作家 : 近藤日出造 【漫画家】 

Anonymous said...

Battledores and Badminton…A History Of Hanetsuki Through Ukiyo-e
with many illustrations
Art can tell us a particular cultural and historical tale. If you look up the origins of badminton, surprisingly enough, Wikipedia credits its founding to British Army officers stationed in mid 18th century India. Somehow they forget to mention its much earlier roots in similar games throughout Asia, such as a game called hanetsuki in Japan. If you click on the ukiyo-e print above, you’ll see that the characters are all holding a wooden paddle, called a hagoita, used to hit a shuttlecock in a game much like badminton, although without a net. Traditionally played by girls and women on New Years, the gaily decorated paddles are still sold today, and vintage and antique ones can be found by hunting around markets and shrine sales.

Because of their quick turnaround time, mass production and inexpensive prices, ukiyo-e prints depict just about anything and everything in Japanese society, hanetsuki not withstanding, and examples abound. I love the pale Edo period examples, such as this Utamaro print from 1804.
And a late 19th century page from The Illustrated London News has a joyful New Years Day in Yokohama full of hanetsuki and kite flying.
Toyohara Kunichika literally got his start painting the designs for hagoita before going on to become a great Meiji period ukiyo-e artist. Born in 1835, he was demonstrating his artistic talents by the age of 10, working in a shop near his father’s bathhouse where he helped in the design of Japanese lampshades called andon (the same kind of lantern as shown here) and around the age of 12 he began more formal apprenticeship with Toyohara Chikanobu while at the same time designing actor portraits for actual battledores. As he started as a child, it is no wonder to me that his interest in this form never waned.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

hagoita with
Isshin Tasuke 一心太助 the fishmonger of Edo

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Yanagawa no hagoita 柳川の羽子板 Yanagawa battledore


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kumamoto Hitoyoshi town 人吉市

The batteldore also features flowers and tsubak icamellia blossoms.
Made by 池口真人(まさと) Ikeguchi Masato san.
Kumamoto Folk Toys

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Kumamoto Hachidai village 八代 

ikken hagoita 一間羽子板 very long battledore

Made and sold at the toy shop 大岡玩具店 Ooka in Hachidai village (next to Uto town). But now they are not made any more.
They are about 1.8 meter long and 1 cm thick.
They were painted with auspicious motives like the Sanbaso dance for the New Year.
These large battledores were given as presents to a family when a girl was born. When the girl had grown up to be the wife in another home, the wood was used to make a needle box or box for her sandals.

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

nezumi kozoo mie kiru hagoita sore ga yoshi

a battledore
with Nezumi Kozo striking a pose -
just right

Takazawa Ryooichi 高澤良一 Takazawa Ryoichi
MORE about Nezumi Kozo

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Hyogo, Kasai town

dai hagoita 大羽子板 great battledore
They were given to girls on New Year to pray for health and good luck.


Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

hagoita for the year of the rooster, 2017 !

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

kamuro 禿(かむろ / かぶろ ) child attendant of a courtesan

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