Recollections of Japanese Kite Battles
Some of the most interesting objects in my collection of kite ephemera are the Japanese postcards produced in the early 20th Century. Most were produced by companies that licensed the image worldwide. They are labeled “carte postale”, or “post card”, or in one case, “union postale universelle” and usually, “made in Japan” is indicated as well. Many show the sights of early 20th Century Japan; Fuji, the Emperor’s residence, cherry blossoms, and scenes from everyday life.
This autumn the Drachen Foundation helped me raise money for a medical mission to Nepal. We gave a kite for every $50 donation to the Sherpa House Calls Foundation, and the donors wrote messages on each; they were then given to children as I traveled. Happy poor kids, flying messages of peace (which they couldn't read) all over the mountains of the Khumbu Valley. Although the winds in the inhabited valleys didn't cooperate, I know they flew high and strong above the towns on the mountaintops, like prayer flags, sending hope on the wind.
The Rise in Importance of a Piece in a Collection
As director of one of the largest collections of kites in the world, I often get inquiries as to what we collect or should be collecting in the world of kites. What is the importance or value of an individual item or a collection of items? Whose job is it to determine what is worthy of collecting and having in our closets? Establishing value of an object, whether it is a kite or artifact, perhaps has only one rule, “to take into consideration everything.”
Yukio Akiyama: Collaborating to Preserve a Collection for All Generations
Mr. Akiyama first came to Drachen’s attention when a set of origami kite designs were emailed to us from Japan. Although the art of origami has been around for centuries, it has never been a subject of interest or collection in the world of kites. Our archival collection never had any reason to make any origami piece a part of our collection, until now.
New Publication Coming in June
The Drachen Foundation is happy to announce that there is another interesting in-depth and exciting online publication on its web site. "Discourse: from the end of the line," is the Drachen Foundation’s successor to its Journal. Having published the Journal for almost ten years, the Drachen Foundation is bringing this new format to its loyal readers, to focus more thoroughly on single topics and to offer more quality imagery on kite subjects.
Der Papier Drachen in Japan
Another easily overlooked gem in the Drachen Foundation’s collection is the 1914 German pamphlet, Der Papier Drachen in Japan. Written for the Linden Museum in Germany by Dr. W. Muller, German Consul in Shimonseki, Japan, this pamphlet shows an interesting view of Japanese kites through the eyes of a European. Including photographs, drawings and twelve color plates showing 31 kites and a scene of a festival, this document provides information that even a non-German speaker can understand and find interest in.
Featured Archive Item
On October 16, 1908, cowboy showman and kite enthusiast Samuel Franklin Cody became the first man in England to achieve self-sustained manned flight. To honor one of the kiting world’s most famous and certainly most illustrious personalities, the Drachen Foundation will be using this “Featured Archive” column to highlight some of the Cody items it houses in its archive.
Featured Archive Item: Files of Margaret Greger and Ed Grauel
In addition to the hundreds of kites, tools, photos, and books in its collection, the Drachen
Foundation’s archive also includes what is known at the Study Center as “the black files.” Contained in 21 three-drawer filing cabinets are thousands of documents, photographs, newspaper clippings and letters. Two of the gems contained here are the files of Ed Grauel and the correspondence files of Margaret Greger.
Newly Acquired Archival Item: Paper Japanese Kite
The Drachen Foundation often receives generous archival donations from unexpected places. Seldom is any donation turned down, as one can never determine the worth of an object before it is seen.