Created by 1st and 2nd Graders at

Benjamin Davis Magnet Elementary School


The Japanese have a national holiday that is dedicated to celebrating the health and happiness of all children. The date falls on May 5th, originally called Boys' Festival (Tango no sekku). Boys' Festival encourages strength and courage for all sons. Originally the families with sons erected bamboo poles and hung carp streamers, which symbolized the wish for the sons to be strong and live long like the carp. The oldest son gets the largest carp kite. Warrior figures are also put out on display as symbols rather than play things. Like the salmon in the U.S., carp, too, swim against the current, creating an image of strength and courage to face the odds against them.

It wasn't until Japan adopted Children's Day in 1948 to promote the celebration of all children. Though May 5th is still geared toward the boys, a Doll's Festival or Girls' Day (Hina matsuri) is celebrated on March 3rd to promote loyalty, devotion and good health to girls. These dolls were dressed in ancient costumes and were viewed as symbols rather than play things.


First we drew our fish using several elements of art and principles of design- lines, shapes, and pattern. Then we heavily outlined our work with black crayon in preparation of the crayon resist with the watercolors.

Each carp became distinctly different.

Some fish had eyelashes. 

Others just flowed with brightly painted colors!


Tissue streamers were cut and glued on to the back when the painting was finished.

We had many different varieties of fish!

We even had an example of a wide mouth fish...



Japanese Fisherman's Coat

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