Collection Item Summary:
This is a Japanese Ryusei rocket launched in 1998 at Yoshida, Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan, of the type used in the annual Ryusei festival. Ryusei means "ascending dragon."
The Ryusei festival is a religious event in which the rockets are fired to pray to the Shinto gods for a good coming harvest of rice and other crops. The rockets are propelled by gunpowder and have long bamboo guidesticks. They are launched from high scaffold-like launch towers. The history of the custom is not well known but is claimed to go back several centuries. This object was donated to the Smithsonian by the Ryusei Preservation Association of Yoshida-machi, Saitama Prefecture, Japan.
Collection Item Long Description:
National Air and Space Museum
Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Gift of Ryusei Preservation Association of Yoshida-machi
Body, pine wood, 0.5 inch thick; clay inserts down 4.5 inches in bottom exhaust hole. Overall rocket tube bound along most of length of body with hemp rope.
Overall: 2ft 3in. x 7in. (68.58 x 17.78cm)
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