For this week’s Today’s Japan Photo series, I’ve decided to feature some of Japan’s traditional games. For today, we shall take a look at these lovely decorated paddles which are used in a game called Hanetsuki 羽根突き.
The photo was taken by flickr user webbmb. Here’s a description taken off Wikipedia:
Hanetsuki (羽根突き, 羽子突き) is a Japanese traditional game, similar to badminton except there is no net, and is played with a rectangular wooden paddle, called a hagoita, and a brightly-coloured shuttlecock. Often played by girls at the New Year, the game can be played in two fashions, by one person attempting to keep the shuttlecock aloft as long as possible, or by the two people batting it back and forth. Girls who fail to hit the shuttlecock get marked on the face with India Ink.
Traditionally, the longer the shuttlecock remains in the air, the greater protection from mosquitoes the players will receive during the coming year. Although Hanetsuki is not as popular as it used to be, decorative hagoita are commonly sold throughout Japan.
Hanetsuki sometimes has pictures of Kabuki theatre performers on it.