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Fireworks makers to light up night skies at secret time to cheer nation

48 Comments
By Elaine Lies

On a night not too far in the future but still being kept secret, skies across Japan will light up with simultaneous fireworks displays from north to south in a plan by fireworks makers to cheer a nation weary of battling the coronavirus.

Fireworks have a centuries-old tradition in Japan, where massive, colorful displays are an iconic symbol of summer and draw hordes of people, many wearing bright summer kimono. They began as a way of warding off bad luck and epidemics.

This year, with many festivals, including one of the most famous, on Tokyo's Sumida River, cancelled over the virus, fireworks makers facing tough times because of lack of work started talks that led to the "Cheer Up! Fireworks Project".

"Everyone's lost their energy due to the coronavirus and these dark times, so we wanted to cheer them up," said Hiroshi Oguchi, the third generation of his family to work at the San-en Fireworks Co in Shizuoka in central Japan. "Also, Japanese fireworks started out mainly as a way of throwing off bad fortune, and so these are our two goals."

About 130 companies from Hokkaido to Okinawa will participate, setting off fireworks at exactly the same time, Oguchi said.

"We are also keeping where it will happen a secret," he added, though the group is considering a social media blast to let people know just before it happens.

Last week, Japan freed 39 of its 47 prefectures from a blanket state of emergency that had lasted most of April, and several more could emerge this week.

The economy has taken a major hit, slipping into recession for the first time in 4-1/2 years.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

48 Comments
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The economy has taken a major hit, slipping into recession for the first time in 4-1/2 years.

Japan has been in a recession for 30 years plus Elaine!

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Terrible idea!

First, this is only going encourage onlookers to gather in tight circles which can further propagate the virus.

Second, it you really want to help, instead spending however much money this whole light show is going to cost, why not donate that money to healthcare workers, or people who are getting hit hard by this economic downturn. You're literally burning money that can go to people in desperate need. So stupid!!!!

-12 ( +6 / -18 )

When we lived in Nagano that frequently happened because manufacturers would test out their new fireworks.

If the time and place is a secret then crowds can not form. The fireworks have already been made for the numerous summer shows now cancelled. Dangerous to keep them in long term storage. They need to be used up.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

You mean, "Japan uses fireworks to distract struggling nation."

You know what will cheer people up? Getting the money into the hands of the people who need it. These fireworks won't make their bills go away or get people their jobs back.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

I want to know when it is so I can see!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

On the other hand a nice idea, but they really should reveal the date when this is going to happen, as fireworks are a massive problem to some sound sensitive dogs (and other animals). This way people with such dogs could prepare in time. In Europe some hotels far away from fireworks locations accept dogs on New Year's eve, just for this purpose.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

They did a quick 5 minute show in my town about 2 weeks ago announcing that it was from a secret location to avoid people gathering. I have a feeling this will be my town's only firework show this year as I bet the one in August will be cancelled.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Mirai - In these troubled and worrying times why do you have to put such a downer on EVERYTHING. It's very boring. You do know that the regular firework festivals have all been cancelled? I'd bet that that said fireworks have alreadsy been manafactured and would otherwise just go to waste. As zichi has pointed out, you really don't want to be storing these for a long time. Give as little notice as possible and let people enjoy.

You do, I assume read the news and realsie we are gradually being released from the State of Emergency? You've not picked up a newspaper from March by mistake this morning, have you?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

This not a question of private companies having the freedom to do stuff like this, but rather a question of ethics and social responsibility. The article says that the time and location will be kept secret, but this isn't going to stop people from stopping and gathering, especially in areas where the fireworks can be seen.

Secondly, what are we celebrating here? The pandemic is not over. People are still getting sick and/or dying. Others are losing their jobs and/or businesses. People have lost their love ones, and we have yet to see an end to it. This is hardly the time to celebrate.

Let's get people who are sick into hospitals. Let's help business owners keep their businesses going. Let'shelp people pay their bills and keep their houses. Let's let those who RECENTLY lost their loved ones grieve in peace without this unneeded and unnecessary fanfare. But most of all, let's invest this money into finding a cure or treatment so that we can return to normal sooner. Only THEN we can celebrate,

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

I think zichi is onto something with the fireworks manufacturers having lots of now-unsellable fireworks that can't be stored for next year.

We don't have one, but the point about dogs is true. I have heard a dog whine all of the way through our town's display. The owner was stupid enough to take it to the park where everyone goes.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

You do, I assume read the news and realsie we are gradually being released from the State of Emergency? You've not picked up a newspaper from March by mistake this morning, have you?

DO you know why we are doing this GRADUALLY? Its so that we don't have a relapse. And just because the SOE is being lifted in 'some' areas, doesn't mean its all over and we can all go back clustering up like a herd of sheep, it means that we still have to be cautious. Gathering in large numbers to watch a fireworks show is not being cautious....it's dangerous and irresponsible.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Secondly, what are we celebrating here?

Being alive.

The pandemic is not over. People are still getting sick and/or dying. Others are losing their jobs and/or businesses. People have lost their love ones, and we have yet to see an end to it. This is hardly the time to celebrate.

If you can't celebrate being alive, you're already half dead.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

In these troubled and worrying times why do you have to put such a downer on EVERYTHING. It's very boring.

I am sorry that this whole pandemic thing is boring you, but I'd personally rather be bored than dead.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

More superficial nonsense.

I'm not sure that firework displays are going to cheer all the people who have serious financial or health worries.

I'd suggest that the firework companies donate money to vaccine research, or towards PPE supplies etc. but they won't do that. Why? Because this is all about them getting rid of stock that they can no longer use (all the summer festivals have been canceled). The cheapest way of doing that is burning it all, or in this case, setting it all off. They're just trying to paint it as some kind of generous public service.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

If you can't celebrate being alive, you're already half dead.

You and I may be alive, but there are lot of people who aren't, because of this pandemic. I don't think I am alone in thinking that it's disrespectful to those who died, and their surviving friends and relatives to celebrate this soon, especially when its still happening.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

You and I may be alive, but there are lot of people who aren't, because of this pandemic.

Exactly.

I don't think I am alone in thinking that it's disrespectful to those who died, and their surviving friends and relatives to celebrate this soon, especially when its still happening.

To be frank, that's your problem. I have one life to live, and I'm going to celebrate it every day, because one day I won't be able to. And I would never expect someone to sacrifice any of their happy life for me, I'd rather they enjoyed the life they have while they have it.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

To be frank, that's your problem. I have one life to live, and I'm going to celebrate it every day, because one day I won't be able to. And I would never expect someone to sacrifice any of their happy life for me, I'd rather they enjoyed the life they have while they have it.

Then go and celebrate it, no one is stopping you. I am just saying that the whole country doesn't need to be celebrating it, especially in a nationwide event when there are people who are still suffering.

If you are unaffected and what to have a party to celebrate, then MO POWA to ya.!

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

Firework displays at a secret time?

No thank you.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

It’s difficult to understand how people can complain about this. Just goes to show, people love to complain.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

If you can't celebrate being alive, you're already half dead.

Have to agree with Strangeland on this one. If we forgo celebrations simply because someone has died recently, we will never have any celebrations.

Remember the dead. Take care of the sick. Celebrate the living.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

.....simultaneous fireworks displays from north to south. ....."Cheer Up! Fireworks Project"

I hope not at the cost of environment

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You are not boring me about the Pandemic Mirai - I do appreciate your concerns. I don't see the word CELEBRATION mentioned anywhere in the article. All I see is the simple gesture of these already manafactured fireworks being used in a sensible way - with just a little warning , then so what if people gather in the street to watch. Even if the UK which until recently had a very strictly enforced 2 metre rule, every Thursday night, people gathered in the streets to clap for health workers.

Of course I feel bad that people have died, of course those that have relatives have my full sympathy, but you seem to wish to prolong something that has been effective and continuie for us all to do nothing at all. People DO get bored, things like this give us all a glimmer of hope and more than likely keep people in line for a while longer.

You have distorted the article, firstly into it becoming a celebration and secondly that its going to be announced in time for MASS gatherings.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Big difference between "celebration" and "cheer up".

Stored fireworks are dangerous and these companies have a mountain of them ready for the cancelled shows. A firework factory blew up in Holland causing extensive damage.

 In 2000, in the Dutch city Enschede, a fireworks factory blew up due to a fire. A huge explosion wiped away a complete neighborhood. 950 people were wounded, 23 people died. This incident is known as the vuurwerkramp (fireworks disaster)

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Good marketing, but I don't believe it's possible to hold a truly secret fireworks display. The Ministry of Transport issues public notices (NOTAMs) to warn pilots about upcoming fireworks displays so I imagine prior registration must be mandatory. I'd also be surprised if there aren't plenty of municipal registration rules so that the fire depts and hospitals won't be caught completely off guard.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Stored fireworks are dangerous and these companies have a mountain of them ready for the cancelled shows.

I see nothing in the article that suggests that firework companies have large stores of fireworks that they need to use up.

Are firework companies funding this themselves or is it being paid for by municipalities?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That is very very nice idea!

Especially because japanese people really likes fireworks, and according to my opinion the japanese fireworks are the best in the world!

This will really cheer up and make the people happy!

I really support this idea!

I hope I can see it!

@the resident, strangerland and David

100% agree to your posts!

I am so surprised, that so many posters here are negative and complaining about each small thing.

I am really wondering if they ever enjoy anything in life.

Me, you and many many others are suffering from this Corona thing, but should we put our head in the sand, give up and stop enjoying things in life?

No way! Never!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

How many traffic accidents do you think this will cause? How many people will gather to watch.... just save them for 2021

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

That will no dount draw a crowd. Good thinking.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Mirai Hayashi

You keep going on about it being a celebration but you've missed the point.

"Everyone's lost their energy due to the coronavirus and these dark times, so we wanted to cheer them up," said Hiroshi Oguchi, the third generation of his family to work at the San-en Fireworks Co in Shizuoka in central Japan. "Also, Japanese fireworks started out mainly as a way of throwing off bad fortune, and so these are our two goals."

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Monty - Totally correct. We should, and lots of us have made the best of a very depressing and worrying situation. But I will not just sit here and listen to people like Mirai preach to us, when he (she?) doesn;t know how we have behaved during these times. I am tired of being preached to by @Mirai and @smithinjapan as I think may of us are.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

People having fun, enjoying life the shame of it.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

ClippetyClop

 Stored fireworks are dangerous and these companies have a mountain of them ready for the cancelled shows.

I see nothing in the article that suggests that firework companies have large stores of fireworks that they need to use up.

Are firework companies funding this themselves or is it being paid for by municipalities?

In a normal year there are many massive public firework displays paid for by the municipalities which happen during the summer.

These fireworks take the best part of a part to manufacture. This years stock of fireworks would have been largely produced before the outbreak of the pandemic.

The displays are also planned by computer programs and programs written. The displays are computer controlled.

The displays were cancelled and the fireworks remain in shortage.

They don't know when the firework displays will start again but at least next year, but probably at least 2022.

The fireworks need to be disposed of and letting them off is the best option.

I don't know the answer to whether the municipalities still need to pay. Depends on their contract but probably not.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

typo

"These fireworks take the best part of a part to manufacture."

These fireworks take the best part of a year to manufacture.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@zichi

Cheers fella. Any idea how long they last for? I think they should keep hold of them for a year or so. The only thing more fun than fireworks is dodgy fireworks. When we were kids we used to buy packs of those little Chinese whistling moon rockets. They used to go off at right angles sometimes.

They could take all of em somewhere really remote and set them all off at the same time. Have always wanted to see that

2 ( +2 / -0 )

ClippetyClop

@zichi

Cheers fella. Any idea how long they last for? I think they should keep hold of them for a year or so. The only thing more fun than fireworks is dodgy fireworks. When we were kids we used to buy packs of those little Chinese whistling moon rockets. They used to go off at right angles sometimes.

They could take all of em somewhere really remote and set them all off at the same time. Have always wanted to see that

No but there are laws and regulations on fireworks. If they are not used the same year they probably must be dismantled, dangerous or destroyed and by letting them off, they are destroyed which is the safer option. I guess the companies took a financial hit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

theResident

But I will not just sit here and listen to people like Mirai preach to us, when he (she?) doesn;t know how we have behaved during these times. I am tired of being preached to by @Mirai and @smithinjapan as I think may of us are.

I am not preaching to you. I come here to read the news and post my opinions. People respond to my opinions and I respond to their opinions...That's the way things work. There is nothing personal going on here.

With that said, we've got to remember why the summer fireworks festivals were canceled in the first place. It was to prevent large crowds from gathering and the spread of the virus. Now this company is circumventing that decision, and holding a much larger fireworks festival despite that descision. This is irresponsible!! If someone gets sick or dies from this, they are complicit, and yet everyone seems to either be ignoring that or not caring.

It's still happening folks, we are not out of the woods. If anything, we should be more careful not to start a second wave or it will be even more devastating.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Again - you are distoring the article. '"this company"" ? Its 130 companies letting off excess fireworks at what will be a time know JUST beforehand, the only thing complicit about this is trying to being a bit of cheer to a country which in general has been very complaint with directives that have no lawful meaning. Yes - we should still be cautious, nobody is saying we should not be, But, I keep askling you @Mirai and you cirumvent the answer everytime, when do you think we should stop? General scientific opinion now agrees that this virus is not going to just dissapear. General scientific agreement is that a Vaccine could be anywhere for 18 months to 5 years away (if ever). How long do you wish to cripple peoples ability to ""live"" ? There will be more deaths from depression, suicide, hunger and other socio-economic reasons if we don't get things up and running soon. Japans death toll is small. Sad, but small. No excuses. But come on, whats's your way out?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

..haha. sorry. Typo above. Compliant .

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

carpslidy

We should ban weddings, birthday parties and christmas people having fun is only going to spread germs.

If you read the news from other coutries, you'd know that a lot of people are postponing these types of events. I personally would not want to be responsible for someone coming to a party that I arranged and getting sick or even worse, dying.

I don't see the word CELEBRATION mentioned anywhere in the article.

celebration - a social gathering or enjoyable activity

Call it whatever you want, the bottom line is that it implies a gathering of people which the government has advised several times not to do.

And just because you have a large stock of something, doesn't mean that you MUST use it. As mentioned by others, dispose of it. I am sure that firework manufacturers know how to neutralize flammable material so that it can be safely disposed of.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

when do you think we should stop?

When its safe! When we have a working treatment. When we now more about how this virus works and how to take better precautions while doing these social activities. When we have better control of the situation. The bottom line is, even the world's top virus experts still know very little about this virus. And to go out and conjugate in crowds despite the warnings of the EXPERTS (people who know a lot more about this stuff than anyone here) is just plain stupid. It's like a moth to flame. "Oh, its so pretty, but it could burn and kill me. Oh but its so pretty...BURN!" Don't be a moth!

How long do you wish to cripple peoples ability to ""live"" ?

How is not going to a fireworks show "crippling"? Have some self control, and just do what is essential for living, so that you and others can stay safe! Not much to ask!

I usually don't equate fact with fiction, but watch the move "Contagion". Its pretty damn close to what's happening now, and will give you a good picture as to why social distancing is so important.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"Experts" and "Specialists"...always when I read the news in the papers, the internet or in the TV. There are always "experts" and "specialists".

I can not remember that any of these so called "experts" and "specialists" did ever prevent or showed any helpful action for any disaster or problems in world life's history.

The only thing what they are doing is talking and talking...but no positive action behind their talks

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Last week, Japan freed 39 of its 47 prefectures from a blanket state of emergency that had lasted most of April, and several more could emerge this week.

And BTW Elaine, this is a very poor choice of words. The word "freed" implies that the people in these prefectures were captured or enslaved. The SOE was put in place to ensure the safety of the citizens and not to captured or enslaved people. Japan "ended" the SOE, would be much better wording...don't you think?

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I can not remember that any of these so called "experts" and "specialists" did ever prevent or showed any helpful action for any disaster or problems in world life's history.

These experts brought you the flu vaccine and helped prevent deadly diseases like HIV, Ebola, MERS, and SARS from spreading and killing off the world population. For your sake you might want to take what they say a bit more seriously!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Readers, you are going around in circles. Please stay on topic or take a break.

we dont get 100.000jpy but yes can "enjoy" fireworks...what a/you know what i mean/.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

There will be more deaths from depression, suicide, hunger and other socio-economic reasons if we don't get things up and running soon.

Define 'up and running'? Restaurants? Baseball games? Music festivals? What's your plan?

I can not remember that any of these so called "experts" and "specialists" did ever prevent or showed any helpful action for any disaster or problems in world life's history.

There's obviously no point in anybody learning anything. Knowledge is useless.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Very good point @zichi . I never thought about the fact that these fireworks need to be used up in a certain period of time. And I agree with the notion that if you keep that times are the fireworks secret, crowds cannot form. Because how do you know even where to look?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

JCosplayToday 01:31 am JSTVery good point @zichi . I never thought about the fact that these fireworks need to be used up in a certain period of time. And I agree with the notion that if you keep that times are the fireworks secret, crowds cannot form. Because how do you know even where to look?

When you are looking outside or when you hear them - surprise!

Fireworks are always a cheerful thing to witness.

Last summer I drove 6 hours to my first nightly stop on a vacation, Niagara Falls, NY. The whole area is douched up with tourist traps and junky commercial rip-off shops out the yinyang. It sucks now. The hotel I stayed in was a dump. The Canadian side is much better. They have a nightly light show on the waterfalls and it's wonderful. The US side has fireworks, and aside from the cool historical sites north of where I was, that was the best part of the evening even if they were only for 20 minutes. 

Things got better the next day crossing into Canada.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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