Koi flying in Kapaia again

KAPAIA — Donna Yano was 2 years old when koinobori, or Japanese carp wind socs, flew over Kapaia Valley in the 1930s. “We had some really big ones those days,” Yano said.

Yano was among the volunteers from the Kapaia Foundation who turned out to raise koinobori in the valley fronting the damaged and closed Kapaia Swinging Bridge.

“I remember crossing on the bridge,” Yano said. “It’s a shame the new (highway) bridge is so dangerous (to watch the koi).”

The effort to fly koinobori was inspired when Laraine Moriguchi discovered a 1935 photograph of Japanese families in Kapaia celebrating Boys Day, a traditional Japanese celebration which is today known as Children’s Day.

“This is the last year we’re going to be less than 600 koi,” said Mason Moriguchi. “This year, we have 500 koi. Next year, we want to have 600 koi — representing each person who lived in Kapaia in the 1930s — flying. This is a perfect opportunity for sponsorship.”

Sponsorship opportunities include fish of three different sizes and will include a short message and the sponsor’s name while the fish is flying. Koinobori will be used to increase the size of the display to its 600-fish goal, as well as replace aging koi. Sponsorship forms and information are available at SIGNart along Kuhio Highway in Kapaia.

The koinobori are flying now through May 25.

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