by Robert George<br>Text by Celeste Heiter, Jun 18, 2003 | Destinations: Japan / Tokyo

Hanetsuki is a kind of Japanese badminton game played with shuttlecocks called hane and decorative paddles called hagoita. During the Edo period, artisans created elaborate designs on the backs of the paddles with quilted silk, featuring Ukiyoe caricatures of popular Kabuki actors, and many merchants set up hagoita shops outside Sensoji Temple. Since hagoita were especially popular among women collectors, it has since become a custom to give a hagoita as a gift to celebrate the birth of a girl. The game of hanetsuki is also a traditional celebration of spring.