Tag Archives: fireworks shell

YONSHAKUDAMA – JAPAN’S BIGGEST FIREWORK SHELL  

Every year, across Japan there are literally hundreds of Firework Festivals. Japan has a 400-year history of firework production and they mainly create firework shells of differing sizes. Annually, the small town of Katakai plays host to thousands of firework enthusiasts of all ages to watch first hand the Hanabi Takai Festival. This event usually lasts around 2-3 hours during which time hundreds of shells are fired from mortar tubes which are everything from 6 inches in diameter to the HUGE 4-foot ones used for the spectacular Yonshakudama.

This big bad boy is an incredible 420 kilograms (925 lb) in weight and is loaded into the mortar tube (which to be fair is the diameter of a tunnel) by crane to avoid impact damage and of course because it weighs so much.

Thousands descend on Katakai by coach and train to see first-hand the giant fireworks which are held in the highest regard by the Japanese who believe that the launch will lift the spirits and that the precision of the bloom, shows the skills of the firework artist.

In Japan, like the rest of the World are specially trained to handle the explosives and create some incredible bloom effects. Traditional shell production is taught ‘hands-on’, as skills are passed through the generations pertaining to the sheer intricacy of their creation. The mega Yonshakudama takes up to a year to make as they are ridiculously time-consuming to create.

Here is the inside of a firework shell where you can see all the composite stars, how they are laid out within the shell to ensure that they explode in a certain way.

Anatomy of pyrotechnics

The mega shell is 64 times more powerful than the usual 4/6 inch ones we see over here in the UK. All pyro-makers in Japan consider themselves artists.

The programme for the event is every bit as big as the event and usually is the size of a broadsheet newspaper, packed with details of the shells, their production, sponsors and messages of love and support.

During the event, which is quite lengthy, the locals will pop along to The Shrine to enjoy food from the huge array of concession stands about and treat themselves to a selection of sweet or savory dishes available.

OKOBO MIYAKI – Japanese savoury pancakes filled with shredded cabbage, shrimp, garlic, chilli and noodles topped with a couple of slices of bacon and a fried egg.

YAKI IMO – Basically, a sweet baked potato – a little like our traditional jacket spud man.

IMAGAWAYAKI – A thick pancake with either a sweet or savoury filling.

The history of fireworks in Japan clearly goes back an awfully long way, indeed the images below were in a book produced in the early 1900s which was part of a catalogue of shells which were available.

Here is the supberb video of the Yonshakudama:

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NEW WORLD RECORD FOR THE LARGEST AERIAL FIREWORK SHELL LAUNCHED

WHAT: NEW WORLD RECORD FOR THE LARGEST AERIAL FIREWORK SHELL LAUNCHED
WHERE: AL MARJAN ISLAND IN RAS AL KHAIMAH
WHEN: NEW YEARS EVE 2018

2018 got off to a great start in the UAE with them successfully managing to launch the biggest recorded aerial firework shell.

The record was previously held by Kounosu Firework Festival in Japan on 11th October 2014 which weighed an impressive 1024 kilos.

The new record saw a shell weighing in at a massive 1089 kilos with a diameter of 1500 centimetres (that is just under 5 feet in old money!) burst in the skies over Al Marjan Island. It was absolutely SPECTACULAR and began with a ground break from which the shell was launched giving the effect of a beautiful emerging flower. The huge shell burst into a huge gold with silver tipped brocade changing from yellow to red as the stars floated majestically to earth.

The display was brought together to celebrate the beauty of the man-made island archipelago and was choreographed to music from around the world to encourage further tourism to the region.

The preceding display was under the watchful eye of Fireworks by Grucci, one of the original Italian Firework families who has been in the business for six generations and continues to delight all who see their magical displays. Most famously, they have been responsible for the Presidential inauguration fireworks for the last 8 presidents.

VERY WELL DONE TO THE UAE AND OF COURSE THE INDOMITABLE FIREWORKS BY GRUCCI

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Another World Record Achievement

On 11th October 2014, at the 13th Kounasu Fireworks festival in Japan, they have managed to successfully launch and fire the largest/heaviest aerial shell ever attempted to beat the standing world record.

The firework shell, named Fenghuang Boisterous Dance was the last shell fired for the finale of the 13th Kounosu Fireworks Festival weighing in at an incredible 1014lb the 48 inch shell burst was estimated at an incredible 2,500 feet across.

The effect was a bright orange tail which on reaching height burst in a massive chrysanthemum burst which had secondary coloured horsetails. The effects hung in the air like a breath on the wind before the stars emitted beautiful green strobing lights. Simply Beautiful:

(cut to 3:20 for the launching of the shell and burst)

The previous record holder was from Japan at the Katakai Festival and weighed in at a massive 990lbs and was named ‘Yonshakudama’ measuring 48 inches in diameter (the same diameter as the new boy!) and it gave a bloom of around 875 yards across but its lower weight means that the new boy won overall.

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