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Friday, Sept. 7, 2007
Town breaks record with fire in the sky
By RAJU THAKRAR
Japan's fireworks displays are known the world over for their dynamism. Japanese people have enjoyed hanabi, as they are known here, since the Edo Period (1603-1868). Displays can be found all over the nation, but none match the one that caps the Katakai Matsuri on Sept. 9 and 10 at Ojiya City, Niigata Prefecture.
The festival makes it into the "Guinness World Records" book for having the biggest fireworks in the world. The yonshakudama fireworks it catapults into the summer sky are approximately 1.2 meters in diameter, weigh 450 kg, rise to a level 800 meters above ground and mushroom out 800 meters. A total of 1,500 fireworks will be let off during the two days.
Last year, approximately 200,000 people inundated Ojiya City to see the display that is a part of the autumn festival for the 400-year-old local Asahara shrine.
Accommodating such hordes of people was no easy task for the small town of Ojiya, whose approximately 5,000 citizens put on the festival with almost no help from sponsors.
To find out more about how to get to the display venue, visit the festival's official Web site at www.adacchi.com.