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Kagiya is the name of an old established fireworks guild that has been in continuous existence since it was founded in by Yahe.

The present fifteenth-generation head of this old established fireworks guild, Soke Hanabi Kagiya, and the first woman ever to succeed to the position, is Akiko Amano. Amano was surrounded by fireworks and professional fireworks-makers ever since she was a child, vowing to become one herself since second grade in elementary school. In those days, only men could handle explosives. She learned to handle these explosives and also endured great hardship in excessive heat conditions. As a result in , she succeeded to the position as the fifteenth-generation head of Kagiya at the age of Such a rapid rise to this traditional position was unprecedented in the long history of Kagiya.

Not only does she make fireworks, but she also wears another hat as an accomplished judo player and referee.

Her father and grandfather were both judo players. Amano holds a black belt and was an international referee of judo competitions at the Beijing Olympics. She attributes her backbone to judo. Amano spoke about the feeling she puts into her fireworks.

In Japan we take exceptional care with every single shot. Our work is extremely precise. I believe that good fireworks can make the audience feel positive about the future.

Behind the soothing summer scene of a night sky dotted with fireworks in full bloom, is the spirit of Japan. Akiko Amano Akiko Amano was born in , the second daughter of the fourteenth generation head of Soke Hanabi Kagiya. In she succeeded to the position of fifteenth generation head. She has a black belt in judo and is an International Judo Federation referee. She also holds a doctorate in art from the College of Art, Nihon University.

Cherry blossoms on a mountainside bloom and fall, an effect achieved by setting off a peony behind a mountain formed by a waterfall fireworks.


The Spirit of a Distinguished Traditional Fireworks Maker Lives On



Aki Mizusawa


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