Mami Kiyoshi
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The Itō-san-chi-no-tako-kōbō workshop
(Hamamatsu city, Shizuoka prefecture, 2018)

Itō-san-chi-no-tako-kōbō is a family workshop located in the Tenjin-machi district of Hamamatsu City. They are the makers of the yoko-ten, the leaning red character reproduced several times in the photograph. They make the kites of a dozen other districts participating in the Hamamatsu festival (173 teams participated in May 2018). In Hamamatsu, the kite festival is linked with the celebration of the birth of children. The families order kites with the logo of their neighborhood, then the name of their child is added on the lower left and the emblem of the family is featured on the upper right. The example in the photograph is particular; this year it was the Itō family itself that celebrated the birth of a child. The emblems of the districts, like those of the families, are very graphic patterns and are often a solid color so they are easily recognizable when flying in the sky. Templates of these patterns are spread on the ground. The one on the left is the one of the Itō family.

The two people standing at the back are Itō Yasuo (left) and his son Kōki (right). They are the son-in-law and grandson of the late Itō Heizō, a personality who was beloved by the entire Japanese kite community. Today, Heizō watches over them through a portrait of himself which is placed on the shelf at the bottom right of the photograph. The three people working in the foreground are Suzuki Tsuneo (left), Yasuo's brother-in-law, Itō Wataru (middle), Yasuo's son-in-law, and Watanabe Hei.ichi, a very good friend of the late Heizō.

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