As we've introduced before at grape Japan, one of the customs practiced by many Japanese people in the days and weeks leading up to Children's Day is flying colorful streamers, known as koinobori 鯉のぼり. Fluttering in the wind above the roofs of houses and displayed at certain festivals, the streamers' distinctive carp shape belies the festival's origin as a celebration for boys (which was converted to a children's festival after 1948), since the fish's liveliness and courage as it swims upstream were seen as positive character traits which families wanted their sons to have.

However, for those who live in apartments, hanging up a huge carp streamer isn't a practical option. And now with the pandemic, vacationing in Japan and attending festivals where koinobori are displayed is hardly a feasible option for visitors from outside the country, let alone for Japanese people.

Make a mini carp streamer with some help from Barbapapa

Lifestyle goods store PLAZA and MINiPLA are celebrating Barbapapa's 50th anniversary with collaboration goods such as candies from Papabubble candy store with designs in the characters' likeness, Barbapapa alphabet cushions, smartphone stickers, and more.

They also have a page where you can print out and make your very own koinobori carp streamer, albeit in a much smaller format, to liven up your home. And if you have kids, you can use it as an opportunity to introduce this festive aspect of Japanese culture in a fun way, with characters they may have seen (depending on where you live) in children's books or cartoons.


  • Download these two pages (page 1, page 2)
  • Print them out on a standard letter size or A4 size paper.
  • Cut out the flags, koinobori shapes, and (if you're using them), the decorative medals you want to use in your streamer.
  • Line them up, non-printed side up, leaving a few milimeters between them.
  • Fold them in half along the dotted line to create a crease, and open them again.
  • Lie a string or wooden skewer so that it runs along the dotted lines of each flag or koinobori shape.
  • Glue the halves together, folding them along the dotted lines.
  • At the top of the stremer, glue the unprinted sides of the decorative medals together with the string or streamer in the middle.

To decorate:

  • If you're using a skewer, stick the streamers into a square sponge to make them stand
  • If you're using a string, attach the two ends of the string between two objects to hang them or drape them as you see fit.

To see all the collaboration goods and fun activities celebrating Barbapapa's 50th anniversary, you can visit PLAZA and MINiPLA's special page here.

By - Ben K.