The Evolution of the Omagari Hanabi National Fireworks Competition and Fireworks in Japan (After 1955 – The Period of Cultivating Characteristics)

In the 20 years following 1955, Japan experienced an economic miracle, and the Japanese economy continued to grow. Omagari was no exception to this phenomenon. However, Omagari and the Omagari Hanabi National Fireworks Competition struggled during this period. People’s leisure habits changed dramatically, and many other places in Akita started to conduct fireworks festivals as well. During this time of hardship, the competition introduced the Ministry of International Trade and Industry Prize in 1963, and for the first time in the nation, created a new division of creative fireworks in the competition. These attempts and other innovative efforts have cultivated the uniqueness and characteristics of the Omagari Hanabi National Fireworks Competition.
1959 – Daytime fireworks were restarted. A woman became the announcer for the fireworks event for the first time. The foundation of today’s form of fireworks announcements was established.
1960 – Japan Art Fireworks were launched to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the competition. There were three divisions in the competition: 5 sun (15 cm diameter) rapid-fire division, 10 go (30 cm diameter) division, and daytime fireworks division.
1962 – There were two divisions in the competition: 5 sun (15 cm diameter) rapid-fire division and 10 go (30 cm diameter) division.
1963 – The competition introduced the Minister of International Trade and Industry Prize following a fireworks competition in Tsuchiura City, Ibaraki Prefecture. The name of the event was changed to the Export Promotion National Fireworks Competition. There was only one division in the competition, warimono (割物: sphere-shaped fireworks). Performances of sponsored fireworks were also started.
1964 – There were two divisions in the competition: warimono division, and creative fireworks division.
1967 – A combination of music and fireworks was started. Poetry, music, and fireworks based on the four seasons of the hometown were performed.
1968 – Daytime fireworks were displayed after a 5-year gap.
1969 – The event site was moved to the current location because of the artificial change of the river course. There were two divisions in the competition: the creative fireworks division and the 8 go (24 cm diameter) warimono division.
1978 – There were three divisions in the competition: daytime fireworks division, creative fireworks division, and 8 go (24 cm diameter) warimono division.
1979 – When the Bundesgartenschau was held in Bonn in the former West German Republic, a fireworks performance was held to represent Japan–Germany friendship.