"Hagoita" Paddles Featuring Big Names of 2020 Go on Display


Tokyo, Dec. 3 (Jiji Press)--Traditional Japanese doll maker Kyugetsu Co. unveiled Thursday colorful "hagoita" wooden paddles featuring nine people who attracted widespread public attention this year, including Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.

Hagoita paddles are used in "hanetsuki," a traditional Japanese game that is similar to badminton and played mainly during the New Year holidays.

This year, a total of seven hagoita were produced for the routine exhibition, with the people adorning the paddles other than Suga, who took office in September, including U.S. President Donald Trump and President-elect Joe Biden, who faced off in a close presidential election, and professional shogi player Sota Fujii, the youngest-ever holder of any two of the eight major titles for the Japanese board game.

Also appearing on the paddles are Masato Sakai, the actor for the leading role in hit television drama "Hanzawa Naoki," and swimmer Rikako Ikee, who returned to competition after a battle with leukemia.

"We struggled with the selection of people for this year's hagoita as the year began with the coronavirus, but I am glad we were able to reveal them," Kyugetsu board director Susumu Watanabe, 66, said. "We put into the paddles our wishes that the coronavirus epidemic will end as soon as possible and cheerful topics will increase next year."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press