The Japan Society
Education Teach about Japan Online Resources

Kamishibai: Swim, Swim, Koinobori

Subject: English / Other Topics
Level: Key Stage 1 / Key Stage 2
Age: 5-7 years / 7-11 years
Resource Type: Other

It’s common for families to display colourful carp-shaped flags for Children’s Day on May 5 with each koi flag representing a member of the family. Traditionally the flags are displayed from smallest to largest, with the father flag (black) at the top of the display pole, followed by the mother flag (red) and the children (blue and other colours) underneath. 

In the story, both Makoto, a young boy, and Koisuke, a child koi flag, aren’t too keen on this tradition: Makoto doesn’t like seeing the daddy flag flying on the pole, whilst Koisuke wishes for a bit more freedom. On this particular Children’s Day, Makoto and Koisuke are brought together by chance to learn that families come in all shapes and sizes and traditions can change over time! 

This original story was written by Kazuko Hohki and illustrated by Aya Burbanks. 

Suitable for Reception to Year 4.


The PowerPoint presentation (PPT)
, with some animated effects and music, is created to look like a live kamishibai show. The story text is in the notes section of each slide and is designed to be shown as a slide show in 'presenter view', where the text is visible on the presenter's screen only while the audience views the main illustrated slide. Please note the PPT file is password protected but can be opened and played in 'read only' format.

Swim, Swim, Koinobori - PPSX (5.1 MB)
PowerPoint Show: opens automatically and only in PowerPoint presentation view. You will need PowerPoint on your device in order to open and view properly.

Swim, Swim, Koinobori - PPTX (5.1 MB)
PowerPoint Document: Use this file if your computer does not support pps or ppsx format.

is designed to be used as printed kamishibai cards (up to A3 size). The file comes with instructions on how to read kamishibai. If you only have one screen (cannot use the 'presenter view'), or simply prefer to read from a piece of paper, but still want to show the kamishibai in PowerPoint, the story text can be printed from the PDF version. 

Swim, Swim, Koinobori - PDF (28 MB)

Additional Resources

Visit the Children's Day page for more teaching resources.