Nagasaki Kite Festival and Hata Making

We traveled down from Osaka to the island of Kyushu by bullet train in about 3 hours. The train station is in Fukuoka and from there we took a new Kamome train to Nagasaki. The train was recently put into service in 2000 year. It has modern styling, leather seats, electric outlets for laptops, and parquet wood floors. It’s about a 2 hour ride to Nagasaki, definitely one of the best train rides in Japan.
We arrived in the evening before sunset to the warm greeting of the Kuwatas holding a sign for us at the train station.
We walked around a bit and rode the gondola car to the top of the mountain across the harbor to view the entire city. It was a fabulous bird’s eye view, a must see.

The next morning we were escorted to Mr. Kuwata’s studio by his son in law, Koji who spoke English. Together with Edo's Japanese we were able to understand almost all of the information about hata making. Mr. Kuwata retired from city government several years ago, and the last 6 years he dedicated himself to kite making. Mostly he has been making hatas, and is a student of Mr. Ogawa's.
He built a kite studio adjacent to his house. As he opened the door to his studio, we were shocked. There were literally hundreds of perfect kite spines, boxes of tassels, spars and all the parts for making hatas, organized and lined up. Hanging on the wall were dozens of hatas already completed. Part of the style of hata making has a curl of bamboo on the end to hang the completed kite on wires across the ceiling for drying or storing. Hatas are made of paper appliqué of red, white and blue colors (and sometimes black). The colors are made by painting white washi (mulberry) paper in the traditional blue and red colors. The kites are made by cutting out the colors in the shapes of the traditional designs and pasting them together.
Mr. Kuwata hasn’t limited himself to hata making however and we were awed by the beautifully painted kites in his studio of the other traditional designs of Kyushu, among them the Barmon kite. His painting was among the best we have seen on our trip, very striking.

Hata Kite Making

with Mr. Kuwata

Nagasaki Kite Festival Opening Ceremony

Mr. Seiho Nakamura, organizer of the Nagasaki International Kite Festival
Scott Skinner and Mr. Modegi help open the Sake keg
Jennifer with Mrs. Kuwata at the ceremony

The Nagasaki International Kite Festival

Clyde Cook from New Zealand
Don Mock from Seattle, Washington
Traditional Kyushu kite
Jennifer with Hideo Matsutani
One of Tony Rice's fabulous beetles
Scott Skinner (his tetra is above) with Tony Rice, and Tom Casselman
Wolfgang Grimsel from Germany with his wonderful kite with spinners
Robert Brasington of Australia and his colorful box kite
Nick James from England