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Japan Photo Journal: Carp streamers cleansed in cold river water in annual ritual

(Mainichi/Koji Hyodo)

An annual ritual of washing glue off brightly colored carp streamers in cold water has begun at the Gojo River in the central Japan city of Iwakura, Aichi Prefecture. On Jan. 18, 2021, Hiroaki Matsuura, 49, who works at the Nakashimaya carp streamer shop, laid out the streamers in the river -- whose water temperature was 12 degrees Celsius -- before using a knife to carefully trace along the cloths' patterns to scrape away remaining glue, and remove dirt from the surfaces with a brush. The cold water brought out the dye's bright colors, and the eyes and scales shone vividly in the water. The work usually takes place during the coldest period of the year in preparation for "Tango no Sekku," or Children's Day, which is celebrated on May 5, and continues through the end of March. Matsuura commented, "I'd like children to grow up elegantly, peacefully, and radiantly like the carp streamers."

    (Japanese original by Koji Hyodo, Nagoya Photo Group)

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