Hagoita and Hamaya

Hagoita and Hamaya, decorations during the New Year

What is a Hago Ita?

In Japan, a traditional game known as “hanetsuki” has existed since the Edo period. This game is normally played during the New Year, and involves hitting a shuttlecock, which is known as “hane” (feather), against a “hagoita” (wooden paddle). Other than its use for “hanetsuki,” the “hagoita” itself also serves as a protective talisman for the safety and good health of a baby girl. The black hard balls which are attached to the feather are taken from the soapberry tree, which are known as “mukuroji” in Japan. When written in kanji characters, this word has the meaning of “no illness” and “child,” which conveys the message that “the child will not be afflicted with illnesses.”

The day a baby welcomes his or her first New Year is known as “Hatsu Shogatsu,” and has been long been a beautiful custom in Japan. To celebrate this special occasion, the baby’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, matchmakers, and close friends will give a hagoita to a girl, and a hamaya to a boy.

Oshie Hagoita

“Oshie” is a technique used to decorate the hagoita in which pieces of cardboard and cotton are wrapped in cloth in order to create a three-dimensional image.
A hagoita in the shape of a woman donned in kimono is rather charming. It is even easy to bring back as a souvenir from Japan.

What is a Hamaya?

True to the kanji characters used in its name, which is written as “arrow that destroys demons,” this decoration has served as an ornament to ward of evil spirits and repel demons since olden times. Starting with samurai families, the hamaya has been passed down through the ages since the Edo period, with the hopes that boys will grow up healthy and brave, and without any misfortune.

Generally, the baby’s grandparents, relatives, matchmakers, or friends will be the ones to gift the baby with a hamaya.

Yoshifuku’s Hagoita and Hamaya

We would like to present to you a part of the collection of hagoita and hamaya we have for sale here at Ningyo no Yoshifuku.。