Pictures in the Sky: The Traditional Square Kites of Japan

Kazuya Gojo's square kites don't look like they should be able to fly. Made with bamboo and rice paper imported from Japan, the Hamamatsu tako (kite) takes hours to construct -- each joint tied together with twine, every surface carefully painted.

Gojo was born in Hamamatsu, Japan, home to this particular style of kite-making, as well as a famous annual kite festival. Today, he works with the International Association of Tako Age to teach others the tradition, bringing Hamamatsu kites to the Berkeley Kite Festival and new generations of kite-lovers.

Kite-building is, by nature, an exercise in community building. As Gojo says, “Making kites takes lots of time by hand, so you need lots of hands.”

— Sarah Hotchkiss

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