It’s Japan’s Foundation Day & we’re celebrating with amazing Joyful Japan Crafts for Kids! Take your pick from Origami, Kokeshi or Hinamatsuri!
It is customary for every country to celebrate its days of national importance. Generally, this is done with a lot of patriotism, and the country’s flag colors and other symbols are celebrated with great fanfare. For instance, on India’s Independence Day and Republic Day, we celebrate the tricolor, while 4th of July sees an explosion of red, white and blue!
However, there’s a country that differs in this regard – Japan! Although one of Japan’s most important holidays, Foundation Day, is this month, the celebrations are not allowed to become very nationalist. On the other hand, the enthusiasm is rather muted, with a focus on cultural traditions instead of fanfare.
We love our big celebrations, but we can also see the value of a quieter one, like Japan’s Foundation Day, also known as Kenkoku Kinen no Hi, which falls on February 11. It is the day the country was founded, and is also the accession date of Japan’s first emperor.
You may remember that the previous Olympics was held at Japan, with a cute blue and white mascot that was chosen by Japanese schoolchildren. Japan is an amazing country, made of over 6,000 islands! Here are some more fun facts about Japan:
- Only 430 of Japan’s islands are inhabited
- There are over 100 active volcanoes in Japan
- Tokyo, the capital of Japan, is the most populated city on earth
- Japan is the third largest economy in the world
- There are more pets in Japan than children
- Japan is the safest country in Asia
If you found these facts interesting and would like to learn more about this country, we’ve got you covered! Here are 15 cool and colorful Japan crafts for kids, peppered with little bits of trivia to give you a better idea of this great nation. Happy crafting and happy learning!
15 Joyful Japan Crafts for Kids
When you think of Japan, it’s hard not to think about cherry blossoms, those pretty pink flowers that appear all over trees. This is the national flower of Japan and is different from trees that produce cherries, the fruit. Cherry blossoms are also called sakura, and it has great significance in Japanese culture. Raising Whasians have created a unique kind of sakura using recycled egg cartons.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Japanese food? Sushi, of course! The Japanese follow a largely healthy diet, and even the government takes public health very seriously. In fact, once you turn 40, the government keeps a check of your waistline, by measuring it every year! However, we’ve got a craft that’s completely calorie-free – pretend play sushi made out of paper!
Besides Founder’s Day, another popular festival in Japan is Children’s Day or Tango no sekku. During this festival, carp (a type of fish)-shaped streamers are flown, also called Koinobori, on the roofs of houses with children . These carp streamers resemble windsocks and are made of paper or fabric. Here, Squirrelly Minds have created a mini version of the carp streamers, made with colorful paper.
Another reason we’re celebrating Japan now is because 3rd March is Doll’s Day or Girl’s Day, called Hinamatsuri in Japan. This is a fun festival, where platforms are created with a carpet-like fabric in red. Beautiful dolls are displayed on these platforms, often in pairs of male and female, or the the obina and mebina. Raising Veggie Lovers has created an adorable pair of dolls for Hinamatsuri, which we absolutely love!
Sumo wrestlers are an iconic part of Japanese culture, and there are many traditions and rituals associated with sumo wrestling, a martial art that’s over 1500 years old. Each wrestler weighs around 300 pounds and the junior wrestlers are expected to bathe their seniors! Pink Stripey Socks has some fun with paper by turning it into some cute little Origami sumo wrestlers!
If you’ve fallen in love with cherry blossoms and want them to be a part of your person, pick up some plain jeans and paint on them! It’s not at all as hard as it looks, and all you need are some fabric colors in pink, green and white. You can also do this on a plain black t-shirt or top.
Japan has many kinds of art forms, and an important one among them is mokuhanga – a kind of wood block printing. It is a kind of print making using water-based inks. The Japanese use many colors and glazes, but you can try a monochrome version as The Crafty Classroom has done.
It’s hard not to talk about Japan’s obsession with paper when speaking about Japan crafts for kids. One reason the Japanese love things made of paper is because of the earthquakes. Japan is located on top of 4 different tectonic plates, making it one of the most seismically active locations in the world. Due to frequent earthquakes, Japanese prefer keeping their things light, and what can be lighter than paper! Jennifer Maker has created a beautiful paper lantern decorated with cherry blossoms.
One of the main religions in Japan is the Shinto religion, which focuses on connecting with our roots and with nature. It tries to establish a deeply spiritual relationship with our surroundings, and it is believed that everything in nature has a spirit. That’s just one of the reasons cherry blossom trees are so celebrated. Projects with Kids shows us how to create our very own cherry blossom tree art using a cotton ball and paint.
Even if you’re not familiar with many of Japan’s traditions, you’re sure to be aware of the kimono! Contrary to what most people think, kimonos are worn by both men and women. The left of the kimono always covers the right and is tied in place with an obi belt. If you fancy picturing yourself in a kimono, try out this Cassie Stephens self portrait project!
We know that the Japanese eat well, and one part of their diet is fish – actually, it’s quite an important part of their daily diet! Apparently, the average Japanese person eats approximately 85 grams of fish every day, and in total, the Japanese consume over 17 million ton fish a year! Well, that’s about eating fish, but the Japanese are also fond of ornamental fish called the koi, and Art Projects for Kids shows us how to create our own version of koi art.
Whenever you visit a country, it’s advised to read about the etiquettes in that place, especially with regards to eating. If you’re ever planning to go to Japan, go ahead and slurp your noodles with all the noise you can muster – it’s considered to be a sign of appreciation for the food! If you’ve got chopsticks at home, check out this project from Handmade Charlotte that turn them into cute Kokeshi dolls.
As mentioned earlier, the Japanese take their health quite seriously, and eat a diet with minimal processed foods. Thanks to their care, the Japanese rank number 4 in the world when it comes to life expectancy. The oldest person in the world today is Kane Tanaka, a Japanese woman aged 119 years- in fact, Japan has over 70,000 people over the age of 100! Take inspiration from this nation and care for yourself too – and you can start by cooling yourself in the heat with a paper fan like this one from Raising Veggie Lovers!
If you’ve been into crafts and scrapbooking, it’s quite likely that you’ve come across washi tapes – a special kind of decorative tape from Japan. They may be made of paper or even fabric, and are available in a variety of prints and patterns. Up to Date Interiors shows us how to turn this traditional Japanese craft material into an Easter-themed craft, by covering eggs in fabric tape!
Another popular export from Japan that has gained worldwide recognition is anime – another word for animated movies or TV shows. Apparently today, anime constitutes 60% of the world’s animation entertainment content. Comic books and manga magazines are also immensely popular – over 2 billion are sold every year. In fact, the Japanese use more paper for comics than for toilet paper! Ayelet Keshet joins in the fun with some Japan and anime-themed coloring pages for kids.
We hope you’ve got a lot of fresh information about Japan from these crafts, although there’s a lot more! For instance, Japanese employers encourage their employees to take naps, as they believe it improves performance. There’s just so much more to learn! If you’d like to make some more crafts while you explore this nation, do check out our lists of Ninja crafts, Origami crafts and Pokemon crafts. We’re sure you’re going to enjoy every minute of your crafting sessions!