10 Children’s Day Phrases

Children’s Day (子供の日) is a Japanese holiday that takes place on May 5th, the last day of Golden Week. The holiday was originally called Tango No Sekku (端午の節句), translated literally as “the first horse of May”, and until 1948 was a boy’s holiday; the counterpart to Hinamatsuri (ひな祭り), Girl’s Day.

Children’s Day

In 1948, “Tango No Sekku” was renamed “Children’s Day”, and it became inclusive of mothers and girls. During Children’s Day, carp streamers known as Koinobori (鯉のぼり) are flown to show appreciation for children and their happiness. The streamers are often flown in a way that symbolizes family unity and hierarchy, with the father fish the largest and the highest, the smaller mother fish next, and the smallest children fish flying lowest. Since the 5th of May is fast approaching, we’ve selected ten phrases (and a few bonuses) to get you prepped you for Children’s Day.


In Japanese, Yane (屋根), meaning rooftop, is a word you will likely want to use when discussing the flying of koinobori. Although residents of smaller apartments have been known to fly koinobori inside, the majority of the streamers will be found flying above Japanese rooftops. Plus, if you learn this word, you’ll be able to cry out for help if you get stuck on a rooftop in Japan. If someone asks where you are, after you scream for help, just sob: “Yane no ue ni imasu” (屋根の上にいます).


Magoi (真鯉), translated literally as “real carp”, is a word used to describe black carp (probably because the most common carp in Japan are black). Regarding Children’s Day, magoi is used to describe the black koi streamers which are typically larger, and reserved for fathers.


Higoi (緋鯉), translated as “red carp” is, …continue reading