The beginnings of kirie-andon lanterns
Hasebe Toshiharu and Iida Nobuyoshi, childhood friends and next-door neighbors, were born and raised in Nagareyama Honcho. They noticed that their historical town dark and deserted at night. Kirie are artworks created using a Japanese paper-cutting technique, and andon are traditional Japanese lanterns. The pair found that shining light through kirie produces an attractive effect, and decided that andon would fit the streets of the history-filled city. And so, Hasebe and Iida began their kirie-andon project. Ever since then, Iida has been making kirie artworks while Hasebe builds the andon lanterns. At night, Nagareyama Honcho’s streets are lit up by over 100 kirie-andon that depict the region’s history, illuminating the area with an elegant atmosphere. These kirie-andon were created by Hasebe and Iida and placed across Nagareyama Honcho by the townspeople with the hope that they will help attract as many visitors as possible and make the city even more lively.
Kirie-andon that can’t be found anywhere else in the world
Each of the more than 100 kirie-andon features its own original kirie artwork, meaning that every single one is completely unique. Their artworks depict the history of the area and are designed in accordance to the wishes of the people who requested them.
Enjoying Nagareyama Honcho’s kirie-andon
By walking around the Nagareyama Honcho area and looking out for the kirie-andon, you can learn about the area’s history and the ancestors of its residents, and get a glimpse into the old streets that were once a part of the city. Kirie-andon can also be found in front of ordinary residences. Some interesting kirie-andon may make you wonder about their origins: Why does the kirie-andon of a liquor store depict an old man making a basket? Why does the kirie-andon of an apartment depict a factory? The Kokosil app can explain some of the kirie-andon, and the rest is for you to discover. Make sure to keep an eye out for these beautiful pieces of art when you’re out in the Honcho area. See a map of all kirie-andon lanterns here!
Note: Please avoid causing trouble for local residents and refrain from touching the kirie-andon lanterns.