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Traditional Japanese kites anyone?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by Coda II, Sep 2, 2019.

  1. Coda II

    Coda II getting there slowly

    I have come back to kites from time to time over many years and have recently been looking at a couple of traditional Japanese designs: Edo and Rokkaku in their paper/bamboo versions. It's not so much the (often very eleborate) artwork in these cases but the actual construction and flying of them that interests me - the simpler graphics actually appealed the most.
    [​IMG]
    With this in mind I recently ordered a kite from a Japanese website that was to be made to order by Tetsuya Kishida. Sadly, over the weekend, I had a message from the site to say that the order could not be fulfilled as Tetsuya Kishida had recently died. As far as I can tell online he would have been well into his 90s so perhaps surprising but also good that he was still able to carry on with his craft so late in life.
    In parallel to this I had also been in touch with UK kitemaker Karl Longbottom and now have examples of both of these designs from him, albeit in ripstop/carbon, which I will be able to get on and fly.
    This does still leave me curious about authentic Japanese construction so wondered if any members here had pointers as to where I might look for Japanese made kites that are available to order?
    Thank you.
     
  2. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

  3. julifriend

    julifriend pfm Member

    Many years ago I flew Rokkaku kites in a team competition including one at the Weymouth kite festival. The competition was on the beach and the tide was coming in when we fought the final. That was fun. I did have some glass covered kit line bought back to me from India at one point but gave it away as I never could get on with the small fighting kites.
     
  4. Coda II

    Coda II getting there slowly

    Have you flown any? It's a very particular set of shapes isn't it, and the sail decoration can be amazingly complex. Curious to know how they fly though.
     
  5. Coda II

    Coda II getting there slowly

    Have always been curious as to just how much control the flier has with a single line fighting kite. I've seen a few videos and gather it's quite tactical but I'm assuming there is a fairly major random element in there as well?
     
  6. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    I used to make kites for fun and it was easy to unintentionally build some bias into kites which could be annoying as my favourite type were large single line Delta Wing types. However if done with care it could work to your advantage and give you some control. For example if the kite has a right bias and you pull line harder and it will veer to the right, ease off and it flies straight.
     
  7. Coda II

    Coda II getting there slowly

    I think the first kite I ever made was a large delta - from the Pelham Penguin Book of Kites. One of the things I most liked about it was the flying into gliding aspect - what it did when the line was completely slack. Just starting to look in to what is current now and it seems the very light to no-wind ultra light kite/glider area is quite popular.
     
  8. Snufkin

    Snufkin pfm Member

    I loved the flying/gliding aspect of Delta's and you could fly them on the lightest breeze. Once your kite gets above 50-80 feet there is almost always enough wind to fly a delta so you could be flying a kite on what appeared to be a virtually windless day.
     
    Coda II likes this.
  9. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    A real one flies well, wind in the tropics is normally weak. The kite is therefore fragile
     
    Coda II likes this.
  10. zygote23

    zygote23 pfm Member



    I've loved kites all my life though I have none now. This is a video of Tim Benson who built me a few custom versions of his world renowned deltas.
    I also flew some huge power kites and raced a parakart many moons ago....till I nearly had my fingers taken off and spine removed lol.

    Might just order a new Benson Kite!
     
  11. Coda II

    Coda II getting there slowly

    That reminds me I had a similar style of kite from Mark Clements/Just of Eve which on checking back was 2009 and I still have found time to get to learn how to fly it properly!
     
  12. -alan-

    -alan- pfm Member

    @Snufkin:
    I used to make kites for fun and it was easy to unintentionally build some bias into kites which could be annoying as my favourite type were large single line Delta Wing types. However if done with care it could work to your advantage and give you some control. For example if the kite has a right bias and you pull line harder and it will veer to the right, ease off and it flies straight.

    That's pretty much how the little fighters work. They have no tail and are essentially unstable unless they are accelerating hard in which case - my understanding of it is - the dihedral formed as the wings are bent back by the airflow make it stable and keep it pointing in the same direction as long as it keeps accelerating. To change direction, you just give it slack, the kite slows/dihedral disappears, you wait until the nose of the kite tips over and points in the direction you want it to go, and then pull the line hard hard and steer it in another direction.

    Pretty absorbing once you get into it.


    From what I've seen of the battles on vids on youtube, winning is largely down to whoever has the most tactical nous in terms of fighting for position being able to get under the other chap's line and then accelerate vertically to slice through it by keeping the cutting action concentrated on as short a stretch of the opponents line as possible.

    Never actually been in a 'fight' as such, but have got hours of pleasure out of trying to master even the basics of controlling one of them.I bought a couple from Martin Lawrence of Merlin kites in Wales back in the day. Still have the little Scamp one nearly 20 years later, and take it out for a bit of therapeutic flying maybe once a year. Often wondered if he was still around.
     

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