Toyohashi is the birthplace of hand-held fireworks
Hand-held fireworks, which are said to have originated from Toyohashi, consists of a joint of moso bamboo approximately 10 cm in diameter and 80 cm in length. A piece of rope is fastened to the bamboo. Iron powder is added to black powder in which charcoal is mixed with saltpeter and sulfur. These fireworks, which erupt around 1.8 kg to 3 kg, are unique to the Higashi Mikawa region. A person lighting one of these fireworks firmly holds the tube next to his or her side while a magnificent column of flames erupts from it. Finally, a flame called “hane” creates a large boom while erupting. The fireworks are used in numerous festivals in Toyohashi, as offerings in prayers for bumper crops, good health, prosperity, and long-lasting good luck in battles. Also, it is tradition for each person who launches one of these hand-held fireworks to completely make one by him/herself, from cutting the bamboo, to making the gunpowder, and finally cramming it into the bamboo.
The model of hand-held fireworks is called “noroshi,” which is a signal fire of information. In old documents of Yoshida Shrine in Toyohashi, it is recorded that these fireworks were used in festivals. For example, “These fireworks began as fireworks in a Yoshida Shrine festival” and “In Eiroku 3 (1560), these fireworks started to be used since the age of Yoshida Castle”. Compared to the rest of Japan, the history of these fireworks in this area is rather old, and it is said that the origin of these fireworks is Yoshida shrine.
Fireworks, which started to appear during the Age of Civil Wars, are said to have spread to the common people from the Genroku Period of the Endo Period. It is said that what caused these fireworks to start to thrive in this region is connected to the development of fireworks resulting from Tokugawa Ieyasu asking Mikawa people to produce gunpowder.