Kitanihon Hanabi Kogyo” to create entertainment in the night sky

Kitanihon Hanabi Kogyo" to create entertainment in the night sky

Omagari Fireworks”, a competition of pyrotechnics

Omagari Fireworks” is known as one of the three major fireworks festivals in Japan. It is a national fireworks competition that attracts more than 700,000 spectators in a single night. Kitanihon Hanabi Kogyo was founded in 1899 in Daisen City, Akita Prefecture, the home of the Omagari fireworks.
The Omagari Fireworks Festival was first held in 1910 as an entertainment for a festival at Suwa Shrine (a shrine in the Omagari area where the god Kenomikata was enshrined during Tamuramaro Sakagami’s campaign to defeat the Emishi). One year, the event was changed to a fireworks competition to test the skills of pyrotechnicians, and became a contest of pyrotechnics. At first, it was a competition for pyrotechnicians in the Tohoku region, but now it is a gathering of the best pyrotechnicians from all over the country. Currently, there are about 300 companies in Japan that make fireworks, and about 1/3 of them (about 100 companies) are manufacturers of fireworks. Of these 100 companies, 28 enter the Omagari Fireworks Competition every year.
Many people think of fireworks as large, round flowers blooming in the night sky. They are called “wari-mono” fireworks, and are the most traditional and standard fireworks, scattering in a pattern like chrysanthemums or peony flowers. In 1964, a fireworks competition called “Creative Fireworks” was started here in Omagari, which broke away from these standard fireworks. People who had been looking for dynamic fireworks, such as big flowers in the night sky, were attracted to fireworks depicting heart shapes, smiley faces, cartoon characters, etc., and a new trend of fireworks started.

Master pyrotechnicians of creative fireworks

Every year at the Omagari Fireworks Festival, about 10 judges judge the competition. Each pyrotechnist expresses his/her view of the world and the thoughts he/she wants to convey to the audience within the allotted time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds, combining the traditional broken fireworks and creative fireworks of his/her own design. The Prime Minister’s Award is presented to the best pyrotechnist (fireworks company) of the year. It is a great honor for a pyrotechnician to win each prize at the competition.

Coincidentally, Mr. Yoshikazu Konno, the fourth generation of Kitanihon Hanabi Kogyo and a nationally known pyrotechnician, was born in 1964. Mr. Konno, who has won many awards at various fireworks competitions, is known in the industry as a master of creative fireworks and is nicknamed the “genius of katamono. Katamono are fireworks that depict pictures of characters in the form of fireworks. Mr. Konno has created many character fireworks and has popularized creative fireworks with a high level of entertainment value. Other types of creative fireworks include “straw hats,” “Saturn,” “sunflowers,” and other fireworks that look like pictures in the night sky. The skill of the pyrotechnicians is in how well they present their designs to the audience. It takes at least 5 to 10 years to be able to make traditional chrysanthemum fireworks. While possessing such basic skills, creative fireworks require even greater skill and imagination. Without a strong passion for fireworks, you cannot create new fireworks the way you want,” says Konno.
Also, the improvement of fireworks launching technology in the past 10 years has made it possible to produce more detailed fireworks. The computerization of the launching system has eliminated the timing gap between the fireworks and the music that existed in the past.
However, no matter how much the technology improves, each fireworks display is still handmade by craftsmen. Each pyrotechnician has his or her own secret formula, and the accumulation of miracles that only the sense of a craftsman’s hands can produce is what makes the fireworks what they are. It is not possible to create the same fireworks every time, and there are not many moments when they are satisfied with their work. Even so, they continue to pour their passion into their work, feeling a mission to bring smiles to the faces of many people with the fireworks they create and to pass on the aesthetics of Japanese tradition. To preserve the tradition of Japanese beauty, which dissipates and disappears after only about 15 seconds, pyrotechnicians continue to carefully create fireworks one by one today.


Kitanihon Hanabi Kogyo
320 Shimokanegatsu, Jinguji, Daisen-shi, Akita
TEL 0187-72-2205