Flying high for the children

KAPAIA — Several hundred koinobori, or a set of koi, or Japanese carp, windsocks flutter in the breeze that caresses the Kapaia Valley.

Installation of the koi, a symbol for Children’s Day for its characteristic traits of being strong and courageous in the swift flowing waters and cascades, started last week by members of the Kapaia Foundation and continues in the days leading to Children’s Day, May 5.

Koinobori also appear in front of homes and businesses in Kapaia leading to the valley, and teases the remains of the Kapaia Swinging Bridge.

This year, members of the Kapaia Foundation added a pair of wooden cutouts, a boy and a girl garbed in Japanese wear, so viewers are able to get photographs of their young children amidst the flying koi.

The strong, colorful fish started appearing in Kapaia Valley several years ago when Lorraine Moriguchi, one of the Kapaia Foundation members and a resident of Kapaia discovered a 1935 photograph depicting koinobori flying high above people’s homes in celebration of Boys Day as the observance was known at that time.

This inspired her to erect the koinobori each year during Childrens Day as wishes for happiness and health for all children.

Following a long period of Boys Day being observed as a time when people would wish health and success for boy members of the family, the Japan government voted to change the observance to Children’s Day to include young boys and girls.

According to information on the reproduced 1935 historic photo, koinobori was brought to Hawaii by sugar plantation era Japanese immigrants.

During last year’s observance, close to 400 koi fluttered in the breezes blowing through Kapaia Valley, and opportunities to sponsor koi are available near the reproduced photo of the free display.

Kapaia Foundation hopes to reach a goal of 600 koi flying, one for each person who lived in the Kapaia community in the 1930s.

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