Koi Nobori Shoes – Who Could Resist?

wafuku – noun: traditional Japanese clothing

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Koi Nobori

Each year in  Japan, they celebrate Tango-No-Sekku, the Boy’s Festival. They have special customs and observances and it’s Japan’s way of celebrating the healthy growth and development of its young boys. Around this day one sees magnificent banners hung outdoors in Japan, in particular, koi nobori (carp banners), often hung from very high wires or poles, and the windsock type banners fill with air and swim in the wind. A very large koi nobori is flown for the oldest boy and others ranging down in size for any younger boys in the family. Tango-No-Sekku became Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day) in 1948, combining boy’s day with girl’s day (Hina Matsuri), celebrating both on the same day instead of on two separate days, but the traditions of Tango-No-Sekku continue on Kodomo no hi, including the koi nobori. Hina Matsuri then became Doll’s Day. You can see some koi nobori in Japan in the picture below.

The koi has become the symbol of Boy’s Day because the Japanese consider it the most spirited of fish; so full of energy and power that it can fight its way up streams and waterfalls. Because of its determination to overcome obstacles, it stands for courage and the ability to attain high goals, overcoming life’s difficulties and gaining success.

Koi nobori are often enormous; the one in the next picture is one of mine; it is cotton and 330cm long and is a good bit smaller than another two I have that are too long to lay out in my living room. You can get a hint of its size from the shoe at its head but, as the photo had to be taken at an angle to fit it all in, it looks shorter than it really is.

I discovered that Reebok brought out a range of footwear based on the koi nobori. As soon as I saw them, I coveted them.

I couldn’t resist, I’m a sucker for anything relating to Japan, so I treated myself to a pair. Sadly, I didn’t find out about them until they had stopped producing them, by which time I had only the choice of black ones; I wanted the red and green ones too. I also could only find them in two sizes, UK 3 and 7, and I am a 3.5 to 4. I bought the size 3 and kept my fingers crossed but, to my dismay, they are too small. I tried to convince myself that they fitted, as I can get them on, but I knew I was kidding myself, so have to accept that I can’t have a pair. I’ve searched and searched but they are just impossible to find. I found some in a place in Japan but they are £95 plus postage to UK plus import duty, so not an option, especially as they dont use UK sizes, they use cm and I don’t know if that is the outside of the sole or the inside of the shoe and can’t risk the wrong size at that price. £60 was as much as I could risk when I got them, a bargain, I felt, when the rrp was £70 and they are now unavailable, which can really raise prices. I wish I didn’t know about them or had learned of them when that limited edition came out. I so want a pair, I’m am just so sad they aren’t my size.

Below you can see some koi nobori used in interior design.


Oops, I have ‘Liked’ my own post, this one and another one. I clicked the Like buttons to see what happened and who the others were that had clicked them and, by doing so, have now discovered that I had added my own Like to my posts and I can’t see a way to remove mine now. If anyone knows how to remove a Like vote from a post, please tell me in a comment, so I can remove my own ones from the two of my posts that I inadvertantly added them to.



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