Fireworks in Japan were originally used to ward off evil spirits much like those used in ancient China but today, fireworks are the mainstay of the Japanese summer with hundreds of shows across Japan throughout July and August. The firework festivals bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors, both local and overseas people to see first hand some of the newest and most spectacular pyrotechnics in the World.
Fireworks in Japan are not typically used for New Year celebrations and in fact, they are rarely used other than for specific events but handheld fireworks, banned here some years ago, are available without any age restrictions but you cannot take them home.
The size of the main product; The Hanabi Shell, differs greatly and usually they start with a 3 or 4 inch mine all the way up to the HUGE beasties like the one which holds the current Guinness World Record for the biggest firework shell which was 48 inches across and weighed an incredible 1204lb!
Over in Japan, the majority of firework events are festivals but a couple have a competition incorporated which just adds that special buzz in the air. The biggest of the competitions are held in Omagari and Tsuchiura where they compete for the biggest with the best effect annually.
Fireworks in China, particularly those around the cities and provinces known for pyro production like Liuyang despatch thousands of containers of fireworks across the world but the Japanese on the other hand consider shell production to be an art form and with this a labour of love rather than as a business so a great deal more care and attention goes into the creation of some absolutely stunning effects, in fact in some cases the shells can take weeks to finish.
Here is a video of some of these spectacular pieces in action – they are just breathtaking: