Tips to Enjoy Fireworks Festivals/Competitions

Tips to Watch Fireworks
No fireworks are identical if they are handmade, because the conditions of the launch sites and production process affect the final product. For viewers, every firework is ichi-go-ichi-ei (once-in-a-lifetime chance). Therefore, at fireworks festivals, you want to appreciate the moment of beauty with every sense you have. However, in the competition, there are some standards to score fireworks to justify which fireworks are better than others. Each firework has unique characteristics. Let us look at how to appreciate warimono fireworks that are traditionally believed to highlight the abilities of craftsmen. (Reference: Hanabi-kanshoshi-kyohon [Fireworks Appreciators’ Textbook], and Omagari Hanabi Official Program.)

Suwari
Suwari (stability/seat) is the turning point where fireworks ascend to the highest altitude and are about to descend. It is ideal for fireworks to explode at the moment they reach the suwari. If fireworks explode too early, they look like a fan. If they explode too late, the shape would be loose owing to the lack of momentum. Both cases should be avoided.

Bon
Bon (tray) is the sphere created by the stars scattered by fireworks. It is ideal for the bon to be a perfect sphere/circle. In addition, the gaps between each star should be equal, and the bons which are not perfectly spherical, unbalanced, or insufficiently large would not receive good scores.

Kata
When fireworks explode and scatter their stars, these stars should ideally be distributed radially. The perfect distribution of stars, described as the kata (shoulder), is nicely tensioned, which means that each star radially scatters from the core of the fireworks with decent momentum. When stars scatter widely, they are described as a wide kata (shoulder). It is not good for fireworks to have stars that are inconsistent and do not scatter straight or steadily.

Kiekuchi
Kiekuchi is the moment when fireworks disappear. It is ideal for fireworks to explode at once, change their colors in perfectly matched timing, and all disappear at the same time. In particular, it is important that no stars remain lit, and they all vanish, like blowing out a candle flame. The perfectly matched disappearance is described as a matched kiekuchi.

The Certificate for Fireworks Appreciators (Hanabi-kansho-shi)
The NPO Omagari Hanabi Club in Daisen City conducts tests and provides a certificate with the aim to promote appreciation techniques to enjoy fireworks intellectually and casually, and to increase the numbers of fireworks enthusiasts in Daisen City. Since 2003, the organization has held annual exams for certificates. To match the efforts made by craftsmen who always think about their spectators, the spectators may also need to cultivate their appreciation skills. By doing so, watching fireworks may become more entertaining. By January 2018, 1203 fireworks lovers had become certified fireworks appreciators.