Creative fireworks (or sozo hanabi) are fireworks that are not constrained by the idea that fireworks should be spherical. Creative fireworks are unique, creative, and innovative in design, and are rapidly launched in succession. Mr. Sato, the former president of the competition committee, proposed this idea in 1963. In the following year, creative fireworks were officially included in the competition. Therefore, Omagari is known as the birthplace of creative fireworks.
The Omagari Hanabi National Fireworks Competition has a creative fireworks division. There are two main styles of creative fireworks. The so-called image-style emphasizes rhythm and colorfulness created by warimono and pokamono* fireworks. The other style is known as the katamono style, which is shaped like various things, such as insects or UFOs, corresponding to the names of fireworks. Judges assess how well the fireworks illustrate the theme/name and how spectators empathize with them.
*Pokamono is a type of firework that consists of smaller fireworks inside a larger firework. When a pokamono firework is launched, the first layer is destroyed in the first explosion, and internal fireworks scatter and explode individually.
The Father of Creative Fireworks: Isao Sato
Mr. Sato was born in Omagari in 1910. He has been involved with the competition since 1957, and was the president of the competition committee from 1962 to 1992. He also been both the vice president and senior management director of the Omagari Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 1963, he fulfilled his desire to introduce the Minister of International Trade and Industry Prize, which contributed to promoting competition to the next level. Keen to showcase Omagari fireworks overseas, he introduced the fireworks of his hometown not only to the entire nation but also the world. The Hanabi Summit in 1990, and the International Fireworks Competition in 1992 were proposed by Mr. Sato. He received the Person of Cultural Merits of Akita Prefecture Award in 1989. He passed away at the age of 86 in 1996.
Introduction of the Isao Sato Prize
In 2017, at the 91st competition, the Isao Sato Prize was introduced, to be awarded to excellent creative fireworks. The prize was named after Mr. Sato to honor his dedication to promoting the competition, and to celebrate 50 years of the history and tradition of creative fireworks.