Tokyo Midtown Koinobori

The koinobori, or koi windsock, has long been a symbol of the traditional Japanese holiday of Boys’ Day. The koinobori was designed with the themes of “Wish for the healthy growth of children” and “nature in the middle of the city.” This design opportunity was a result of a partnership between Tokyo Midtown, one of Japan’s largest mixed-use developments, and the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. The design was exhibited as a 2-meter-long fabric koinobori in the “OPEN THE PARK” event during the Golden Week holidays (April 19, 2019 – May 6, 2019) in the Midtown Garden of Tokyo Midtown. The exhibition included around 80 original koinobori designs from artists and designers from around the world. Afterward, the designs moved on to be exhibited in several European countries.

This design was titled “Makai to Mauka” and features sights characteristic of two regions of the Big Island, Hilo and Volcano and significant in childhood memories. Looking from tail to head, from one side to the other, one travels makai (ocean) to mauka (inland): from the waters of Hilo Bay to the pavilion of Lili‘uokalani Park’s Japanese garden, further inland through the untamed rainforest, finally reaching the summit of Mauna Kea. The warm hues allude to red, the color associated with the island. The lines dividing the scenes represent the regional divisions. The movement from ocean to mountain peak is representative of a child’s journey of growth and maturation.