The Evolution of the Omagari Hanabi National Fireworks Competition and Fireworks in Japan (After 1980 – The Era of Rapid Growth)

Global Relationships and Rapidly Increasing Viewership
In 1979, Omagari’s fireworks were shipped abroad for the first time to Bonn, in former West Germany. Approximately 5,000 units of fireworks, including creative fireworks – Omagari’s signature type – illuminated Bonn’s night sky. After this successful performance, fireworks from Omagari began to make inroads into the international market. Omagari fireworks were displayed in Dusseldorf twice, at the closing ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984, in Berlin in 1987, and at the celebrations for the 1,100th anniversary of Hungarian Nationhood in 1996. The great reputation gained overseas also boosted the reputation of the Omagari Hanabi National Fireworks Competition within Japan. Consequently, with the increase in the popularity of domestic tours, the viewership also skyrocketed.
1981 – The warimono division changed its size from #8 to #10. The competition had three divisions: daytime fireworks, #10 shell warimonos, and creative fireworks.
1983 – Omagari fireworks were displayed as part of Japan Week in Dusseldorf in the former West German Republic.
1984 – The #10 shell warimono division started to permit two types: the assigned design shell and the free-style shell. Omagari fireworks were provided for the closing ceremony of the Los Angeles Olympics.
1986 – A TV program dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the competition was aired. An exhibition sponsored by the competition, titled ‘The Great Akita,’ was held. During the display, 700 star mines* were launched and laser lights were used. The competition began to incorporate more entertainment elements. (*A star mine is a launching technique that involves shooting fireworks in rapid succession.)
1987 – Omagari fireworks were displayed in Dusseldorf, and at the celebration of the 750th anniversary of Berlin in the former West German Republic.
1990 – Fireworks from six countries were exhibited in the competition. The Hanabi Summit was held.
1992 – The International Fireworks Design Fair ’92 was held, and 30 Japanese fireworks producers and seven producers from six countries participated in the event. A New Fireworks Collection was displayed, which became an annual event to start off the fireworks season, in which people could enjoy each year’s trends.
1993 – A pen light exchange was conducted for the first time after the competition.
1994 – Yoeshin* fireworks were launched in the competition for the first time. (*Yoeshin(四重芯: four internal layers) are a type of firework that consist of one main layer and four internal layers (i.e., five different layers of color in total).)
1996 – The Director General of the Science and Technology Agency (the current Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology) Prize was introduced to the nighttime fireworks division. The warimono fireworks of the Omagari Hanabi National Fireworks Competition was nominated as Akita’s traditional craftworks. Omagari fireworks were displayed at the celebrations for the 1,100th anniversary of Hungarian Nationhood in Budapest.
1994 – The NHK (Japan’s national broadcast corporation) started to air the competition live via satellite.