National

Edo River giant kite festival needs volunteers

Kyodo

The annual festival for “odako,” or giant kites, flown will be held on May 3 and 5 along the banks of the Edo River in the city of Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture.

The Odako-age Matsuri festival committee said the organizers are inviting participants to “embrace the wind and enjoy the gravity of a kite as it vibrantly glides through the air.”

People come to the traditional event, whose origins date back to the Edo Period, to celebrate Children’s Day to wish for the good health of youngsters and fend off future misfortune.

The event features smaller kites as well, and it attracts huge crowds of tourists.

The committee is looking for volunteers of both sexes aged from 16 to 60 who are fit enough to handle the huge kites.

About 100 men are needed to launch a 15-meter-long, 11-meter-wide and 800-kg kite into the sky.

For a smaller 6-meter-long, 4-meter-wide and 150-kg version, about 15 female volunteers are needed.

Places for 100 volunteers will be allotted on a first-come, first-served basis. They may register by telephone, postcard or fax by April 10. Contact the Kasukabe Tourism Office at 048-736-1111.