Draft of Boys’ Day banner

This is a life-size draft on paper of a Boys’ Day banner, and with the exception of the family crest, it seems to be complete in every detail.

Boys’ Day banners were typically designed to encourage boys to strive to attain manly virtues, or to emulate legendary heroes. This banner details a moment in Japanese history. Legendary Emperor Chuai died suddenly, leaving behind his pregnant Empress, Jingu. Emperor Chuai had planned to invade Korea, and following his death Empress Jingu determined to accomplish this herself, with the aid of her minister, Takenouchi no Sukune. This she did, and following her return to Japan, she gave birth to her son, Ojin. In this scene, Takenouchi no Sukune holds the young Emperor as the Empress looks on.

The minister wears blue suede gloves, and brown suede arm protectors, both most likely made of deer skin. In books of the period detailing samurai clothing and accessories, long thin black spikes such as those seen here on the Empress’s and minister’s shoes often indicate something made of bear fur.

The Empress Jingu was a very popular theme in Boys’ Day banners, although details varied significantly.  Compare the draft above to the actual banner below, found recently on the Kimonoboy website.

Empress Jingu banner from Kimono Boy