Traditional doll-maker Kyugetsu Co. opened a special exhibition in Tokyo on Monday featuring 30 kawari hagoita wooden paddles depicting standouts of the Heisei Era.
The era, now in its 30th year, is set to end when Emperor Akihito abdicates the throne on April 30, 2019.
Kyugetsu is exhibiting the colorful paddles at Sensoji Temple in the Asakusa district of Taito Ward until Wednesday.
Medalists from Olympic Games held during the era were among the big names chosen to decorate the paddles.
Also on display is a paddle from 2004 depicting South Korean actor Bae Yong-joon, who triggered the hanryu South Korean pop culture boom in Japan after he starred in a popular television drama called “Winter Sonata.”
A 2011 paddle features all-girl Japanese idol group AKB48, while a 2017 paddle depicts Xiang Xiang — a giant panda cub born at Ueno Zoo in the same ward that year.
Hagoita paddles are used in hanetsuki, a traditional Japanese game that is similar to badminton and is played mainly during the New Year holidays.