Kites: The Original Construction Tool¹
In Japan, the hobby of kite flying has risen to an art form. Kites, or “tako,” were originally brought to Japan from China by Buddhist missionaries in 649-794 AD. Kites were mainly used for religious events and celebrations, but the innovative Japanese also found a way to use them in the construction of shrines and temples. Large kites were used to lift building material such as tiles to workers on scaffolds and roof tops.
One of Japan’s spectacular kite festivals, the Sagami Giant Kite Festival, is held annually on May 4 and 5 at various regions in Sagamihara City, Kanagawa Prefecture. Large kites of Sagami, called “Sagami-no-Oodako,” are flown with the help of a team of skilled kite flyers. These giant kites can measure up to 14.5 meters in length and width, weigh 950 kilos (over 2000 pounds), and are made of bamboo and Japanese paper.