New Year Games


New Year Games
Book page   (Part of the set: Flowers of the Seasons)

Kitagawa Utamaro
Yoshikawa Kōbunkan


Print is Public Domain; Photography is:   Creative Commons License


In this image we see some elegant courtesans playing new year's games. On the left there are two women playing hanetsuki (羽根突き), a game similar to badminton, but without the net. They each hold a patterned wooden paddle called a hagoita (羽子板), one ready to hit the shuttlecock which is evidently out of frame as they both look upwards. The two girls on the right side of the print are playing with a temari, a handball made of string given to child by their parents on New Year's Day. Traditionally a mother would write a goodwill wish for their child on a piece of paper and include it in the centre of the temari, the child never knowing what it said.

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