Mami Kiyoshi
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Koura Yūji in his workshop
(Nagasaki city, Nagasaki prefecture, 2018)

Koura Yūji is a semi-professional maker. Before, he was a boat painter. He built this extremely ingenious and well organized workshop with his own hands in 2009. He also involves his family in his kite activities: his daughters helped make the workshop; his grandchildren sometimes help make kites.

The peculiarity of Nagasaki kites, called hata, is that they have a diamond shape and that the decoration of the sail is not painted, it is a patchwork of pieces of paper that are cut and then glued together. The colors used are normally blue, red, and white, but Yūji also regularly uses black and gold. The decorations of these kites are very graphic. In addition, as they are combat kites, they have a special line, called bidoro, which is covered with glass powder to cut the opponent's line. As many kites are used during the battles, Nagasaki's kite battles were previously an activity for wealthy people. Yūji makes his bidoro himself by using the pole that runs along the left side of the photograph.

The maker who Yūji considered as his master was called Yorozuya. He gave him some pieces of blue paper that Yūji keeps preciously. These pieces of paper are placed on the right on the foreground of the photograph. Yorozuya had also created a motif to symbolize the name “Koura”; he stylized the first kanji of his name (ko), which means "small," and with it he made the red and white kite standing in front of the workbench.

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