Follow Us




Ōmagari Hanabi―the Pinnacle of Japanese Fireworks Displays (Photos)

Izumiya Gensaku (Photographer)[Profile]

Around 500 firework displays are held every year throughout Japan, mostly in summer. The famous Ōmagari National Fireworks Competition held at Daisen in Akita Prefecture is the biggest of them all. The beauty of fireworks is introduced here through the work of a photographer who specializes in capturing the fleeting beauty of fireworks.

Held in the city of Daisen in Akita Prefecture, the Ōmagari National Fireworks Competition is regarded as one of Japan’s two greatest fireworks competitions, together with the Tsuchiura All Japan Fireworks Competition.

The Ōmagari event is known as the birthplace of Creative Fireworks. These can be any shape, allowing pyrotechnicians to give free rein to their creativity. This competitive category originated in Ōmagari along with the unique “daytime fireworks” category.

Ōmagari was the first place in Japan to introduce music to accompany a display of “Wide-scale Starmines,” fireworks that are launched in rapid succession. The display culminates in an emotional climax, with spectators and pyrotechnicians on the riverbank waving penlights. This is another Ōmagari original that has spread throughout Japan over the past 20 years.

All of the many fireworks displays held throughout Japan are unique. Each one of them boasts some special characteristic supposed to be “number one in Japan.” I think this is a sign of how developed and sophisticated Japanese fireworks have become. There is an attitude of friendly rivalry among the organizers of the various events. It’s always a thrill to look forward to the new fireworks each year. You never know what you’re going to see next!

(Photographs and original Japanese text by Izumiya Gensaku.)


Ōmagari Fireworks Bedazzle the World

  • [2013.12.13]

Photographer who specializes in firework displays. Born in 1959 in Akita Prefecture. Commissioned by contemporary Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang to photograph such works as the Transient Rainbow fireworks event held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2002, and Light Cycle, a 2003 pyrotechnic display to mark the 150th anniversary of New York’s Central Park. Publications include Nihon no hanabi wa naze sekai-ichi nano ka? (Why Are Japanese Fireworks the Best in the World?)

Related articles