Japanese fireworks called “sparklers”

Tachibana Museum

The ephemeral life of a sparkler.

The sparkler emits various flames that fleetingly disappear.

They burn for ten seconds and reflect a man’s life.

Japanese-made sparklers have become rare now. The gunpowder is made of burnt pine from Miyazaki prefecture, and handmade washi (traditional Japanese paper) dyed with natural plants from Yame City, in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Sparklers are very delicate, and vary depending on the way a craftsman twists them, the amount of gunpowder used, and weather conditions.

Domestic sparklers have a four-phased burning life. Also, like wine, sparklers improve with “maturity.” Aged sparklers are somewhat softer and produce warmer flames.

Sparkler from Kansai (West area of Japan)
~Subo-te Peony~

It is an original firework that has not changed for over 300 years.
The Tsutsui-Tokimasa toy fireworks factory in Miyama city, in Fukuoka prefecture, is the only place that currently produces these fireworks.
“Subo-te Peony” have always been popular with people in the Kansai area, an area with fertile soil, which allowed people to actively engage in rice cultivation.

Sparkler from Kanto (Eastern area of Japan)
~Naga-te Peony~

A familiar, yet nostalgic sparkler, with gun powder wrapped in Washi (Japanese paper).
Naga-te Peony was popular mainly among people in the Kanto area, an area with poor rice production, but that prospered as a Japanese paper manufacturing area. Wrapping gunpowder with paper evolved from wrapping it with straw. This sparkler has remained very popular in the Kanto area, and has also gained popularity throughout Japan.

Bud -TSUBOMI-
Ii is a fire ball, which expands immediately after being ignited, as if it were inhaling oxygen to live.  The moment before the final flame drops is similar to a flower bud opening to full bloom.
Peony -BOTAN-
It is called “Peony”. It evokes a time of youth when children take hesitant baby steps. The interval between sparks gets shorter as it burns….
Pine-needles -MATSUBA-
Then it gains momentum and the sparks, like pine-needles, pop out one after another. Symbolic of marriage, childbirth, and growth… Watching the delicately-shaped arch of fire, it mysteriously intermingles with the happy events of our life.
Falling chrysanthemum -CHIRIGIKU-
Sparks fly and fall off one by one. It is symbolic of one’s latter years of tranquility. The moment the fire ball changes from red to yellow, and loses its light, the life of the sparkler comes to an end.

This sparkler is made of burnt pine powder from Miyazaki prefecture, and handmade washi (traditional Japanese paper) dyed with natural plants from Yame City, in Fukuoka Prefecture.

The beautiful colors are made from natural dyes.
Note the lovely flower-like shape. The tradition of hand-crafted sparklers progressed as it was passed down from generation to generation.

By : Tachibana Museum
Credits: Story

tsutsuitokimasa

Tachibana Foundation


Curated by
TSUTSUI Kyoko (TsutsuiTokimasa Fireworks)
OHIRA Midori(Tachibana Foundation)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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