July 27th, 2012
A hagoita or battledore is a rectangular board similar to a large ping-pong racket that is used to play a traditional Japanese New Year game called hanetsuki where shuttlecocks are hit back and forth with the paddles. This object, however, is not for practical use, rather it is a good-luck charm used for decoration. An image of an elaborately dressed young woman representing the New Year appears on the front of the battledore. In a tradition dating back to the Edo Period (1615-1868), the Battledore Fair, or Hagoita-Ichi, is held each year at the Senso-ji Temple in Tokyo with numerous open-air stalls selling hagoita, shuttlecocks, kites, and other New Year decorations.