Hagoita-ichi

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Hagoita-ichi

The New Year tradition of playing hanetsuki – a badminton-esque game popular among girls during the Edo era – may have all but died out, but that hasn't stopped the wooden paddles used in the sport (known as hagoita) from selling by the bucketload every year. Of course, the decorative pieces sold during the Hagoita-ichi, depicting everything from kabuki actors and sumo wrestlers to contemporary singers and anime characters, are intended to be used as ornaments and lucky charms rather than to hit shuttlecocks. The three-day fair attracts 300,000 people every year and is still a hotbed of Edo tradition, including the curious custom that sees shopkeepers and shoppers clap in unison when another paddle is sold.

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