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Aichi Prefecture is firing on all cylinders

by Sang Woo Kim

Staff Writer

Among the different kinds of hanabi (fireworks) in Japan, the tezutsu hanabi is probably the one you really shouldn’t try at home. “Tezutsu” means “hand-held,” and a tezutsu hanabi cylindrical cartridge is made of a hollowed out bamboo tube, which is wrapped in rope woven from rice straw. The tube, which is usually around 80 cm tall and 15 cm wide, is packed with 1.5 to 3 kg of gunpowder. It’s believed that the tezutsu hanabi evolved from the use of similar devices as signals in warfare 400 years ago. The tube is hand held when lit, and it can blast flames and sparks up to 10 meters high into the air.

Tezutsu hanabi festivals have attracted thousands of visitors in Aichi and Shizuoka prefectures, where the tradition originated, and although fireworks displays in Japan are usually held in summer, these festivals are held from spring to fall, mainly in Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, where tezutsu hanabi were first invented. This festival tours the area, and this week it takes place at Laguna Beach in Gamagori.

Gamagori Tezutsu Hanabi Festival takes place at Laguna Beach on May 25 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission is free and the beach is a 15-minute walk from Mikawa-Otsuka station on the Tokaido Main Line of Central JR Line. For more information, visit www.city.gamagori.lg.jp/unit/kankoshoko/tedutu.html