Kimono Flea Market ICHIROYA's News Letter No.508


Senko hanabi(a kind of sparkling firework) used to be a must thing of summer holidays. There are many kinds of fireworks but Senko hanabi is the most simple type, not glamorous, nor exciting. It always reminds me of ordinary people's life like ours.


There are huge fireworks we can see in the summer event. I heard an expensive one costs 4 million US $. A dozen of Senko hanabi costs like $1.00.  8 cents for one Senko hanabi!

They are not attractive, they have been around always. They often come at the end of hanabi gathering. `Any more hanabi? Oh, only Senko hanabi? OK, let's do it  and we finish.' They finally appear.


Once it is lit, from a small bud-like fire ball ,  flash comes out, they are like peony, or pine needles or willows and then fizzle out just like it--Just like our lives.

Very short and small but as if each Senko hanabi has a life and I think it is beautiful.

Until now, I did not know, no more Senko hanabi was made in Japan - they quit producing Senko hanabi 15 years ago.

Traditional Senkohanabi is made of washi paper, niter, sulfer and soot of burnt pine. There are not enough good washi paper (kozo paper) and soot of burnt pine. There are no crafts man who can do the subtle composition and twisting. In less than $1? There is no way.

Eventually, cheap Senko hanabi come from China. They say there is obvious difference from Senko hanabi made by traditional Japanese way but there are probably no people who can know or care the difference anymore. The Senko hanabi production in Japan are extinguished.

I have been thinking about kimono and fabrics but found there are other things pushed away by made in China goods. Here also, traditional technique has been lost.

Regarding kimono, we can tell the difference of technique by comparing the both old and new kimono but Senko hanabi are gone, in a moment. Even the unused hanabi cannot store such long, I assume. The traditional method are gone forever?

13 years ago, they started producing Senko hanabi in Japan again by peopel who are eager to leave the method. Here is their Senko hanabi store:

Traditional Japanese Senko hanabi

They sell  the new Senko hanabi in a very  pretty box with nice design- it costs $1 for one Senko hanabi. They wanted adults to enjoy the hanabi- they look like a nice incense stick!

Not only kimono but all the traditional art work are in the same  difficult situation- they are seeking for survival, finding new concept and trying to appeal people. I knew this is happenng all over and by seeing the new products like this Senko hanabi, I almost scream,

`Don't go, Kimono! Hold on! Hold on Senko hanabi, too!'