Children’s Games for the Five Festivals

(Osana asobi go sekku no uchi, 雅遊五節句之内)

Publisher: Wakasa-ya Yoichi (Jakurindô)

c. 1840


This series shows children playing games that are related to the five festivals, which are Jinjitsu (January 7) Feast of the Seven Herbs or Mankind’s Day; Johshi (March 3) Doll Festival or Girls’ Day; Tango (May 5) Boys’ Day; Tanabata (July 7) Star Festival or Seventh Night; and Choyo (September 9) The Chrysanthemum Festival.  The series is listed as number 129 in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).  The prints are each about 14 by 10 inches (36 by 25 centimeters), a size known as ôban.



Title: Tanabata (七夕) Star Festival or Seventh Night on July 7




Another state of the above print


Title: Yayoi (弥生) Girls’ Festival




Title: Tango (端午) Boys’ Festival




Title: Kiku no tsuki (菊月) Chrysanthemum Festival

Description: Boys wrestling



A greatly altered state of the above design published 1846-1852


Title: Seiyô (青陽) New Year

Description: Boys in a parade


The woodblocks for the above print were reworked in the second month of 1847 to produce this image.  The print now bears the title Ken no keiko (Ken Exercises) and has the following text:


Sake wa kenzake (sake o tsugu furi o shite)
Iroshina wa (ryôte nite sando katate zutsu de manegu)
Kai ro (kairo no mane o shite) hitohyoko
Mihyokoohyoko (sando tobu koto)
Hebi nuranura
(kubi o furinagara tatsu koto) namekude mairiyashi
Yo / au sore / (sode no shita yori migi no te nite hasami o dashi)
Janajaka janjaka (migi no te o nigiri)
(hidari no to o hirogete kawarigawari ni shite yondo suru koto) janken na
(kodomo no janken o suru koto) basama ni (tsue o tsukite hidari no te o koshi e mawasu koto)Watônai

shikarareta (atama o osaeru koto)
Tora ga (ryôte o tsuki tora no mane o shite) hauhau (sandô hau koto) totetsuru ten (kubi o furu koto) kitsune de kinase (kitsune o suru koto)

Sake should be ken-zake
But there are various methods:
The frog jumps one, two, three,
The snake comes slippery.
Let us try with the slug!
Dingdong dingdong—stone ken!
It was by his old mother,
that Watônai was scolded.
The tiger comes a-crawling
to the sound of the shamisen.
Now come with the fox!


‘Robinson’ refers to listing of the series in Kuniyoshi by Basil William Robinson (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1961).