Surprise Fireworks Displays Light Up Skies Across Japan to Lift Spirits and Support the Industry
Fireworks enthusiasts came together and launched the Hanabi Support Project.
Summer fireworks festivals have long been a tradition in Japan, but due to the spread of the coronavirus, these much-awaited shows are cancelled this year--putting the fireworks industry and the hanabi culture in a difficult situation. To support and send love to the fireworks companies affected by the pandemic, a nonprofit organization (NPO) called Nihon no Hanabi wo Aisuru Kai (which means an organization of people who love Japan’s fireworks) launched the Hanabi Support Project.
Expenses for the Hanabi Support Project are covered through the help of crowdfunding.
The NPO is from Daisen City, Akita Prefecture, which is also known for Omagari Fireworks Festival, one of Japan’s 3 major fireworks festivals. In this project, 81 fireworks manufacturers involved in Japan’s National Fireworks Competition, commonly known as Omagari Fireworks, participated to simultaneously launch fireworks to send a message of love and support across the country without prior notice. To compensate these companies, the funds collected through the crowdfunding service FAN AKITA will be used.
“On June 1, the ‘Cheer up! Hanabi Project’ sent courage, energy, and hope to the people in the form of surprise fireworks simultaneously launched by 163 manufacturers all over the country. But most of the expenses for this event were paid for by the fireworks makers themselves. So we thought it is now our turn to send our support to the pyrotechnists who continue to encourage us despite their own struggles,” explained Shinji Togashi of Nihon no Hanabi wo Aisuru Kai.
This project started with a simple wish to cheer everyone up by launching fireworks as a prayer of recovery from the virus, a message of thanks to the frontliners, and a symbol of inspiration to the people who continue living inconveniently due to the coronavirus, while boosting the struggling fireworks industry.
The project aims to protect the fireworks culture and the skills of pyrotechnists
To avoid the Three C’s (closed spaces, crowded places, and close-contact settings), there will be no prior announcement of the time and venue of the fireworks shows. Meanwhile, for areas where launching fireworks is not possible due to certain circumstances, Omagari City will receive the firework shells and launch them on their behalf.
As a gift to the crowdfunding supporters, a URL where you can watch the fireworks launched in every region will be distributed on a later date. This way, they can enjoy each pyrotechnist’s unique and passion-filled creation through their smartphones or computer screens.
A powerful pyrotechnic performance Japan can boast to the world.
This project, which aims to protect traditional Japanese culture, has received heartwarming messages from different parts of the country, including filmmaker Naomi Kawase who served as a special judge of the Omagari Fireworks Festival in the past and kabuki actor Kazutaro Nakamura who is also a certified fireworks connoisseur. “We are asking for support from as many people as possible to be able to launch fireworks that are distinctive of each maker and demonstrate the true value of the skill of these craftsmen,” says Togashi.
Techniques handed down from generations of fireworks masters
The fundraising campaign, which ended on July 10, had 6 courses starting from ¥10,000 to ¥300,000 that you can choose from if you wanted to donate to the cause. To launch the so-called “good fireworks”, the target amount for the crowdfunding was set at ¥11,873,000. While higher-quality fireworks needed the following amounts: ¥31,587,300 for “cool fireworks”, ¥55,873,000 for “go go fireworks”, and ¥87,331,500 for “awesome fireworks” (the target number is set as a pun in Japanese for each word). For the supporters, the aforementioned URL for the fireworks display video and priority purchase rights for reserved seats to the next Omagari Fireworks Festival will be prepared.
■Hanabi Support Project crowdfunding page:
Provided by Japan Walker™, Walkerplus™, and Tokyo Walker™ (24 June 2020)