夜花火の部「創造花火の部」 Evening Hanabi (Creative Hanabi Category)

公開日 2018年01月24日

更新日 2021年04月01日

夜花火の部「創造花火の部」 Evening Hanabi (Creative Hanabi Category)




In contrast to the style of expressing hanabi shell titles through elements like rhythm and colour layers, pattern shells such as straw hats, UFOs and dragonflies represent a different approach, quite literally taking the form of their titles.


Creativity and originality are comprehensively judged through the use of colour, rhythm, depth and composition. Whether or not the theme in the title is being expressed and the ability of the piece to connect with the audience are both important criteria.




大曲の花火をこよなく愛した男 One Man’s Unrivalled Love for Omagari Hanabi







The foundations for the revolutionary format of Creative Hanabi and current competition operation were born from the passion and ideas of one individual known for his unrivalled love for Omagari Hanabi, Isao Sato.


It is no overstatement to say that the innovative and artistic Creative Hanabi, pioneered in Omagari, are responsible for instilling awe in audiences at Omagari Hanabi, where technique and beauty are refined to the cutting edge.


Throughout the Taisho and Showa periods, Omagari Hanabi thrived as it gained popularity as one of Japan’s prominent fireworks competitions. However, audience numbers peaked around the mid-1960s, likely as a result of diversification in entertainment and leisure.


Former Omagari City appointed the Omagari Chamber of Commerce (current Omagari Chamber of Commerce and Industry) to operate the competition in 1957 and it has since contributed greatly to the preservation of hanabi. Sato acted as both organising vice-chairman and as a project advisor for the chamber, before going on to create and develop the concept of Creative Hanabi.


Sato was born in Omagari in 1968, and in his youth with no particular expertise in fireworks, wanted to become a film director. He operated an ironmonger and only first became involved in hanabi at 47, awakening a hidden talent.


「花火は丸くなくてもいいじゃないか」 Not Necessarily Round





  1. 花火は丸くなくともよい。三角でも四角でも形には拘らない。
  2. 複雑な配色を避けて、単色化せよ。
  3. 花火の筒の大小の合せにより、リズム感と立体感を狙え。







(参考「THE HANABI」佐藤勲著)


In his initial administrative role, gathering sponsors and pricing products, Sato started an unfunded project during an era of tight budgets as a show of appreciation for the hanabi artists. He would welcome each participant early in the morning of the competition as they arrived at Omagari Station for registration. This Omagari Hanabi tradition is still alive today, with the competition chairman now responsible for carrying the torch. Sato seized this opportunity to interact with the artists, developing relationships and building trust while he constructed the foundations for Creative Hanabi which went on to revolutionise the industry. Hanabi artists of the time were not held in such high regard, but Sato built rapport while acknowledging their talent and character saying that “We are not simply buying hanabi shells. We are buying craft and skill.”


On the other hand, large hanabi displays were being held all over the country and Omagari Hanabi was put in a precarious position, no longer able to simply ride on the coattails of tradition.


In 1962 at 52 years of age, Sato was selected as chairman of the competition’s steering committee. “I want to grow the waning audience numbers of 50,000 into a crowd of 200,000. To make that happen, we need unique hanabi that can’t be seen anywhere else. Also to contribute to the community’s economic development, I want a competition that invokes a feeling of wonder.” Sato had a one-track mind for hanabi.


During a factory visit, Sato had a visionary thought. “Hanabi don’t necessarily need to be round.” This was a groundbreaking and unique idea that would challenge traditional thinking.


Hanabi need not be round. The shape is not important, whether triangular or square.

Avoid complex colour patterns in preference for monochrome.

Contrast small and large mortar sizes to build rhythm and depth.


This was Sato’s new style of hanabi.


Sato believed a hanabi display that the people could enjoy would draw large crowds, as opposed to traditional shells that were popular with seasoned audiences.


Sato pitched the idea that he thought would be the key to popularity to the steering committee with great confidence during a time when traditional techniques were honed to perfection, and a pivotal judging criterion was whether shells were perfectly spherical regardless of viewing angle. However, he was met with fierce resistance from committee members and hanabi artists alike, and his innovative proposal was rejected.


However, the passion for his hanabi revolution did not fade. Despite the project being derailed in Omagari, he set out to visit hanabi artists all around the country, continuing discussions and negotiations. Eventually, he attained the approval of the artists. The relationships that he had developed over the years were crucial to his success, while his sheer drive and passion undeniably shifted their views.


Sato’s proposal came to fruition as a national first in 1963 for the 37th competition where the pioneering Creative Hanabi shattered expectations as they danced over Omagari’s night sky. The audience responded with unsparing applause and cheers at the watercolour-like hues, expression of rhythm and depth, and most of all, the creativity expressed by the artists. It was also this year that the highly anticipated Economy, Trade and Industry Minister’s Prize was introduced. The following year, Creative Hanabi was added as an official category and went on to become renowned throughout the country.


Sato continued to make further proposals such as arranging music alongside hanabi, and the persistent innovation continued. The goal of 200,000 was quickly surpassed as audience numbers increased year over year, and the competition grew into today what can be called the number-one display in the country.


Reference: The Hanabi – Isao Sato




Isao Sato

Born in Omagari in 1910, Isao became involved with Omagari Hanabi in 1957, going on to act as chairman and advisor of the competition from 1962 to 1996. Not bound by the idea that hanabi should be round, the father of Creative Hanabi succeeded in his long-time goal of establishing the Economy, Trade and Industry Minister's Prize in 1963, further raising the status of Omagari Hanabi. He proactively put on international shows and widely promoted Omagari Hanabi both within Japan and around the world, and was awarded the Akita Prefecture Culture & Labour Prize in 1989.