How to Make a Japanese Carp Kite

Children’s Day is celebrated in Japan on May 5th every year. Families display carp kites from the roofs of their houses to represent the number of sons they have. Boys often make a display of warrior equipment and dolls. Bean cakes are eaten and parents give thanks for the health of their sons. In Japan, carps symbolize courage, power, and determination, as it swims against the current. Little boys swim through the carp kites from mouth to tail. If they get through without tearing or cutting the kite, this means good luck.

To make one, you will need: 24″x 36″ piece of butcher paper (any color will do), scraps of tissue paper, 1″ x 24″ cardboard strip or a 24″ wire piece, glue, scissors, stapler, markers, crepe paper or ribbon, hole punch, string, and a long pole.

Fold over 1″ of the short side of the tissue paper first. Put your 24″ wire or cardboard strip in the fold and glue it in. Now, fold the tissue paper in half longways. Glue it along the edge with just a dab of glue and let it dry. Use an old newspaper to protect the underside and fold it between the tissue sheets. Draw and color in the shape of a large fish with your markers. The fish mouth should be near the end with the fold.

Now you are ready to glue on the fish accessories such as scales, fins, eyes, and gills using the scraps of tissue paper. Use the crepe paper or ribbon for streamers on the tail! This makes it authentic. Next, bend the wire or cardboard to make the mouth opening at the end of your kite. Use your stapler to staple the cardboard for a stronger circular opening. Now, tie three 1-foot strings to the “mouth” of your kite and attach the carp to a long pole. These are cute and festive hanging outside on a spring or summer day!

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