“I’ll challenge at the edge of my heart / Look out over the edge / I’ll fly through the sky like an ad-balloon / Without looking back on the danger / I’ll wrap my heart in peace / I’ll toy with anxiety / And lightly, on a fluffy carpet / Walk on, deeply moved” – Lyrics from I’ll Challenge at the Edge of My Heart – Go to Heart Edge
Consider the following photograph: we face west, peering down on a broad avenue that spans a newly constructed highway underpass; an empty park appears newly built; advertising balloons float in the distance; the white walls and peaked roof of the Kabuki-za theater rise above its shorter neighbors. We are at the edge of the Ginza in 1963. This is a rich era for cultural historians: incipient prosperity, shaking off the wounds of the Second World War, the coming-out party of the 1964 Olympiad…
50 years on, the street grid is little-changed, including the Tsukiji River Ginza park 築地川銀座公園 and the location of the kabuki theater. The highway that runs under the park was completed just a year before, in 1962; it follows the course of the former Tsukiji River 築地川. And much has changed: the Kabuki-za 歌舞伎座 was completely rebuilt in 2013, for example. In fact, most of the buildings in this photograph have likely been rebuilt due to the famously short life-span of Japanese buildings.
But the most obvious difference to today are the advertising balloons アドバルーン that dot the horizon. The balloons are tethered to roofs and have messages attached to the tethers. Ad balloons are a rare sight in 2015.
The 1963 photo is a stitch from Sing, Young People! 歌え若人達, an unusual film by Keisuke Kinoshita 木下 惠介. Its perspectives on the power and absurdity of media and fame feels ahead of its time. The same can be said of Elia Kazan’s 1957 A Face in the Crowd,* a film touching on similar themes. Kinoshita’s film shares the same visual style as some of his other works, notably Thus another day 今日もまたかくてありなん and The Eternal Rainbow この天の虹, both of which make fine use of wide panning shots and on-location filming. Sing, Young People! is a feast for the eyes for Tokyophiles, especially those with nostalgia for 1960s Japan.
Here is a photo-stitch of the opening moments of the film:
In the following close-up (below left), the Kabuki-za is in the center of the frame, slightly obscured. The original Kabuki-za was built in 1889, in the same location of its four replacements. Back in 1889 there were no balloons above Tokyo. But a year later, a single balloon would cause a stir in Ueno Park…
1. Spencer & the Asakusa 12-stories 浅草十二階
1890 was a momentous year in Japanese history: it was the effective date of the Meiji Constitution 明治憲法 and saw the opening of the Asakusa Twelve-Stories, Japan’s first “skyscraper”. The building was slightly shorter than the tallest building in the world,* and home to the country’s first elevator.* The Twelve-Stories was a beacon of modernity and a popular tourist attraction that Tokyo-ites would crane their necks to see.
Tokyo-ites would have even more reason to crane their necks in November of 1890. An Englishman known as “Spencer” performed a death-defying stunt, floating 3500 feet into the air on a balloon, then leaping to the ground with a parachute. As noted by Edward Seidensticker, Spencer, in his day, was exceeded in popularity perhaps only by General Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, who toured the country for three months in 1879.
I recommend reading the following account of Spencer’s jump in Ueno Park: The Englishman Spencer from the series One Hundred Roles of Baikō. Performing a similar act, at the same time as Spencer, was an American named Baldwin ボールドウィン, whose December 1890 jump is chronicled in The Japan Weekly Mail:
No photographs exist of Spencer or Baldwin’s Tokyo performances, but a similar jump was caught on film. The following is Baldwin’s first jump in 1887, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.*
The Asakusa Twelve-Stories and Spencer are closely linked, with both representing the forces of modernity and westernization at work in 1890; the Twelve-Stories even hosted Japan’s first beauty contest. Modernization was not just cultural: the tower’s designer, (William) W. K. Barton ウィリアム・K・バートン, played an important role in Japan’s modernization. He designed water systems all over Japan, including a sand filtration system in Shimonoseki, that “is still functional today and produces water so pure it is bottled with Burton’s picture on the label.”*
2. Who was Spencer?
The Spencers*(*) were a prominent ballooning family in London, forming the firm, C.G. Spencer & Sons. The man who wowed the crowd in Ueno Park was Percival G. Spencer パーシヴァル・スペンサー *[*] (1864-1913), though some sources list Stanley Spencer as the performer. Percival’s full name is mentioned in most Japanese-language websites, including the tour dates of Spencer’s 1890 ballooning tour, which included Yokohama Koen 横浜公園 , Kobe settlement 神戸居留地, Ueno Park 上野公園, Kyoto Imperial Palace 京都御所博物会場前, and Nagasaki 長崎. Percival’s name also appears in katakana in contemporary newspapers and in a permit application for one of the balloon launches:
Later English-language resources are not as specific. Seidensticker refers to him as “an Englishman named Spencer” * and “Spencer the Balloon Man” *. I briefly believed that both Percival and his brother, Stanley Spencer スタンリー スペンサー (1868–1906), were involved in jumps in Japan. Stanley Spencer, like Percival, led an accomplished ballooning career. The website, Ballooninghistory.com, notes that Stanley Spencer “Made Balloon Parachute jumps in Tokyo & Yokahama” in 1890, and a Japanese woodcut on the following blog captions the Tokyo balloonist as “Stanley Edward Spencer 1868–1906”. Despite these reference, there is no conclusive evidence for Stanley’s having performed in Japan. Meanwhile, articles in The Japan Weekly Mail only mention Percival Spencer:
And what about Baldwin ボールドウィン? Baldwin seems not to have achieved the same fame in Japan as Spencer, probably because Spencer jumped first. And Spencer gained additional acclaim through that uniquely Japanese art form, kabuki 歌舞伎.
3. Spencer in Kabuki
In January 1891, months after the balloon performances, one of the most famous Kabuki performers in Japan would take the stage to celebrate Spencer’s achievements. And it took place in the very same building that we saw at the start of this post: the Kabuki-za in Ginza.
The play is known as 「風船乗評判高楼」 , 「風船乗評判高閣」, or 「風船乗スペンサー 尾上菊五郎」, known in English as “Riding the Famous Hot-Air Balloon.”* The man playing Spencer was Onoe Kikugoto 五代目 尾上菊五郎, one of the three most celebrated of the Meiji period* (Kikugorō took part in a performance for President Grant’s visit.)
The Kikugoro/Spencer play was well-received in its thirty-three day run,* indicating that Spencer was an appealing character even months after his balloon flights. In addition to having a top-flight star and interesting subject, the kabuki performance included two unique elements: a prop balloon and a speech in English by the great Kikugoro.
The short English speech was written by cartoonist Imaizumi Hidetaro 今泉秀太郎 (aka Imaizumi Ippyo 今泉 一瓢), the man who, on April 27, 1891, was the first to use the word manga 漫画 to describe what we would call ‘caricature.’*(*)
Here’s the full speech:*
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have been up at least three thousand feet. Looking down from that fearful height, my heart was filled with joy to see so many of my friends in this Kabuki-za, who had come to witness my new act. Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen ; with all my heart, I thank you.”
And various photographs of Kikugoro as Spencer:
4. Advertising to the future
Like many Japanese filmmakers, Kinoshita placed his characters within the context of rapid social change. The Eternal Rainbow, for example, depicts transformations brought about by large factories and danchi housing estates. In Carmen Comes Home カルメン故郷に帰る (1951), a farming family adjusts to their daughter’s modern, urban attitude (she’s a stripper, after all). There are several characters in Sing, Young People! who also have difficulty facing change. And there’s one oddball character who starts and ends the film on a curious note. Immediately after the image of the kabuki-za and ad balloons, the camera zooms in on a clown holding an advertisement for “Yamanote Sensual Massage.”
This clown looks out of place among the suited Tokyo businessmen. His first (and only) lines of the film are “What the…that guy’s even weirder than I am,” in reference to a university student in a traditional outfit. The narrator explains, “A student wearing a student cap? An endangered species indeed.”
I believe this clown is a type of Chindon’ya チンドン屋; per Wikipedia, chindon’ya were “a type of elaborately costumed street musicians in Japan that advertise for shops and other establishments. These performers would advertise the opening of new stores and other venues, or promoted special events such as price discounts.” The chindon’ya’s link to advertising is further described in the book pictured above, チンドン屋始末記―街頭のピエロたちにみる広告宣伝のパフォーマンス (1986), which translates roughly as “Chindon’ya settlement Symbol – Performance of street clown us to see advertising”. The Japanese Wikipedia article suggests that the demand for chindon’ya declined as other advertising methods became available, including neon signs and ad balloons.
Why did Kinoshita choose to open the movie with a clown who represents an antiquated form of advertising? Is it to highlight the absurdity of the cultural artifacts of the past? And did Kinoshita intentionally include the Kabuki-za in the opening shot? And if so, was Kinoshita aware of the story of Spencer the balloon man? If this was all intentional, then the opening sequence of the film a remarkably efficient history of advertising.
But let’s assume the Kinoshita’s sequence is a red herring. Can we find a connection between Spencer’s jumps and advertising in Japan? I think so.
Spencer (or the Spencers) helped pave the way for aerial advertising in Japan. During Percival Spencer’s balloon jumps in Japan, he would shower the crowd with advertising leaflets. As described:*
“The preparations made by the intrepid performer were few and simple. They consisted chiefly in divesting himself of a gold medal and his watch and chain, exchanging his hat for a tight-fitting tweed cap, filling his pockets with advertisements to be scattered from the clouds, and seizing firm hold of the jacket by which he is attached to the parachute in the descent.”*
(translated) “Imaizumi Hidetaro, he had been working for Jijishinpo company [a daily newspaper], negotiate from balloon to Spencer to sow advertising flyer. At first, I refused, but Imaizumi Hidetaro who was studying in the United States, will admit was an interpreter with the Japanese staff of the balloon installation work “advertising’” (link removed)
Advertising ran in the Spencer family. Stanley Spencer was paid £1,500 to use his airship to advertise “Mellin’s Food”.* in England.
It wasn’t until 1913 that the first advertising balloon would appear in Japan, pioneered by the Nakayama Taiyo-do 中山太陽堂 cosmetics company.* Ad balloons did not gain wide use until several years later, and the Great Kantō earthquake 関東大震災 in 1923 couldn’t have helped. Amid the rubble and ashes, ad balloons could not have been a top priority.
Although there is a 23-year gap between Spencer’s performance and the first ad balloon, I choose to believe that the idea of the ad balloon was influenced by Spencer jumps and Kikugoro’s performances. It’s not unreasonable, given Spencer’s popularity and Kikugoro’s stature. Psychologically, Spencer and Kikugoro helped establish the balloon as an object of joy and wonder, capable of creating publicity and spectacle.
Furthermore, the ad balloon is almost entirely confined to Japan. Other countries such as the United States, Germany, and England did not develop ad balloons despite having had ample ballooning technology. Was Spencer and Kikugoro solely responsibly for this? Probably not. Factors such as Tokyo’s density may have played a part (where a few balloons would get many views). And it certainly helps that Japanese sentences can easily be written vertically, unlike English.
Even if there is no connection between Spencer and ad balloons, it is still worth knowing the history of the balloons.
5. Advertising balloons アドバルーン Ad balloon / Adobarūn / 空中PR Aerial PR / 屋外広告物
This is an ad balloon being set-up; the balloon has the traditional red and white colors:
There were 2,000 ad balloons in Japan in 1951, and 10,000 in 1956.* The photograph that inspired this post is from 1963, arguably the height of the ad balloon’s post-war popularity. For example, in 1964, 553 ad balloons were used for a single event, the opening of the Ginza Matsuya.* As Tokyo’s buildings became taller, the city expanded, and new forms of advertising developed. Advertising balloons became less common and eventually subsiding into obscurity by the 1990s.*
The cultural history of the advertising balloon is extensively documented in a great Japanese blog: 1930年代の都会新風景・空の広告風船玉。鈴木信太郎の《東京の空（数寄屋橋附近）》からはじまる、アドバルーンにまつわる走り書的覚え書。 It is an exceptional resource.
Ad balloons may have been invented in 1913, but it’s not until the 1920s and 1930s that ad balloons become common. Sources mention 1931 as being a watershed year.[*] A prominent work is “Sky in Tokyo (Near Sukiyabashi)” 《東京の空 （数寄屋橋附近）》 (1931), a painting featured for the exhibit “Tokyo in the 1930s and the Birth of Prince Asaka’s Art Deco Residence”*(*)(PDF) The work is a fine example of Japanese Art Deco style 和風アール・デコ様式. Coincidentally, the life of the artist, Suzuki Shintaro 鈴木信太郎, corresponds almost exactly to the years covered by this post (1895-1989).
In Suzuki’s work, advertising balloons loom prominently, almost menacingly, over a city painted in subdued colors (Source: PDF):
Many cultural references would follow. In 1933, ad balloons appeared in a film regarded by some as “‘a modern work that had never existed in the history of Japan'”[*]. The movie, 『 音楽喜劇 ほろよひ人生 』“Musical Comedy – Intoxicated Life”, is a musical comedy about the joys of beer drinking, and it functioned as an advertisement for its backer, Dai Nippon Beer 大日本麦酒*.
1934 saw the first electrically lit ad balloons*, but the real fireworks came two years later. In 1936, during an attempted coup – the February 26 Incident 二・二六事件 – balloons were used to advertise a unique product: surrender.*(*)
In most examples from the 1930s, ad balloons are depicted as symbols of modernity, prosperity, and progress. It was aspirational: You too can rise high like a balloon!
Two images from the blog and Twitter feed of 藤田加奈子 @ are especially playful. The first two frames are from コドモノクニ Kodomo no kuni (“Children’s World“), a celebrated children’s magazine that was published from 1922-1944. Many examples of the magazine’s skillful artwork can be found online.
The work is 「ツキモノガタリ２」 “Tsukimonogatari 2”, a comic split into 14 panels. It depicts a young boy, crippled perhaps, who dreams of reaching the moon via an ad balloon. The cartoon ends with the boy realizing that the moon he saw is actually the balloon. The artist is Masamu Yanase 柳瀬 正夢 (やなせ まさむ)*,, a man whose chosen pen name is the kanji character for “dream”. Masamu’s dreams ended when he was killed in an air raid in May 1945.*
The third and fourth frames are from a 1938 collection of humor stories ユーモア小説集 called “Life Ad balloon”『人生アド・バルーン』, by Hayashi Nikuta 林 二九太 (ハヤシ ニクタ) (1896 – unknown). Cover art was provided by Ono Saseo 小野佐世男, who signs his name in English. In addition to being an interesting visual artist, Ono is a frequent topic of debate, as he was a propaganda painter in occupied Indonesia from 1942-1946.* The “Life Ad Balloon” cover is a playful work, depicting a couple riding an ad balloon as is it floats above the clouds. The woman appears confident, poised on the front edge of the balloon; the man seems less sure of himself, grasping at the balloon as if it were a life raft. Must be a first date.
The man and woman resemble Mobo モボ and Moga モガ, those fashionable Japanese who adopted modern/Western ways of dress and behavior during the 1920s (Modern Boy モダン・ボーイand Modern Girl モダンガール). Ono Saseo’s work is connected to this movement and, purely by coincidence, I attended an exhibit of his work at the Taro Okamoto Museum of Art: “ONO Saseo – Modern Girls on Parade” / 「小野佐世男―モガ・オン・パレード」展. *(*) I’ll leave you with pictures of a few Modern Girl モダンガール. Due to a personal bias, there will be no Modern Boy pictures for now…
Use of advertising balloons was curtailed by World War II, officially becoming prohibited in October 1943. [*] That isn’t to say that Japan stopped playing with balloons. Instead, the military used fire balloons 風船爆弾 to float bombs across the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to attack the United States. This weapon, aka Fu-Go ふ号[兵器], is well-documented in the following blog. The videos below also offer nice background:
U.S. Navy Training Film on Fire Balloons…
Japanese Balloon Bombs of WWII…
After the war, during Allied Occupation, ad balloons were illegal for a number of years. In 1948, two balloons were used to advertise the performance of 「お夏清十郎」at 日本劇場 Nihon Gekijo 日劇. The balloons floated just one day until being prohibited by SCAP/GHQ （連合国最高司令部） for the reason that “the balloon bomb image remains” 「風船爆弾のイメージが残存する」. *(*)
The Tokyo Postal Service was permitted to use ad balloons in 1949, and in 1951, the laws relaxed to allow for public use: 「繋留（けいりゅう）広告気球制限規定」”Tethered (mountain stream) Advertising balloon limit prescribed.” *
Ad balloons in the 1950s:
Ad balloons in the 1960s:
Ad balloons in Nagoya, 1961:
In 1960, the Gutai (concrete) group 「具体美術協会」 used ad balloons to display art above the streets of Osaka at the “International Sky Festival” 「国際スカイフェスティバル」. This idea was born from necessity: in order to avoid the cost of shipping large paintings internationally, the works of foreign artists were enlarged and transferred onto banners, then shipped to Japan. The leader of the movement, Jirō Yoshihara 吉原 治良, remarked, “We had flashbacks to our first breathtaking experiences of flying kites.”
The symbolism of balloons was on international display during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics when 12,000 balloons were released by marching schoolchildren, * the first time a balloon release 風船飛ばし was performed at an opening ceremony. * Watching film from the event, you can imagine how beautiful it was in person: watch on YouTube.
An ad balloon added on-the-nose symbolism at the end of the 1964 Japanese film, “Black Sun” 黒い太陽. In the final scene, the main character, on the run from military police, floats off into the distance, clinging to an ad balloon. The metaphor is immediate: a man’s desire to escape the reality of his life by being transported to a better place. It’s a fitting end to a film about bondage, and resonates with the cultural history of ad balloons
Moving into the 1970s, the story of balloons starts to reflect the concerns of Japan. In 1974, in response to the Oil Shock, the “People’s Campaign to Value Resources and Energy” deployed 133 ad balloons to promote conserving resources. [p. 175]
After this, the story of the ad balloon in Japan starts to lose steam. Cultural references to ad balloons become scarce in the later 1970’s through to the early 1990s. Based on other evidence, this decline in cultural references reflects a general decline in the use of advertising balloons. Many factors may have been at work: the time and expense of operating balloons, an increase in tall buildings that would make balloons less visible, and an increase in suburban shopping centers that made shopping less centralized. I imagine that the ever-increasing rise of television also competed for advertising dollars that once were spent on balloons.
December 29, 1989 is the end of the ad balloon era, according to my somewhat arbitrary thinking. The Nikkei 225 stock index hit an all-time high on this date and often is mentioned in relation to the “bursting” of Japan’s bubble economy that played out over the course of 1990 and beyond.* Aesthetically, bursting a bubble is very similar to bursting a balloon. But there are more substantial reasons. The ad balloon was a buoyant image of post-war Shōwa period 昭和時代, particularly the years 1955-1970, which saw rapid economic growth and cultural touchstones like Tokyo Tower (1958), the shinkansen and the Tokyo Olympics (1964). And when the economic bubble burst in 1989, along with the death of the emperor, it is only fitting that the age of the ad balloon would also lose air.
6. Ad balloon nostalgia
Ad balloons still exist in Japan. A quick Google search for “レンタル アドバルーン” (Rental advertising balloon) comes up with companies such as 飛行船ネットワーク株式会社 (Hikousen) and 有限会社 アド東海 (Ad. Tokai). Although both companies offer traditional ad balloons, the traditional balloon now must compete with balloons shaped as airplanes, animals, and corporate logos.
The average Tokyo-ite will rarely see an traditional balloon. I don’t recall ever seeing one. Due to this scarcity, most contemporary references to ad balloons speak of them with nostalgia. The following cartoon (below, left) and accompanying text sums up the state of advertising balloons today:
Time of Showa, it was that advertising balloon is up from a department store.
And it was that something was pounding and see it.
However, such a scene also has become not seen much or from the day.
In addition, it was even swell events of that outing to the department store in the family.
But such of in recent years, it feels as had been lost.
Perhaps it is, Will had replaced the style that go out in the car in the family to a large shopping center on the outskirts.
The second two photos (below center, right) are from an amused blogger who wrote:
今日、出掛けていたらアドバルーンを見つけた！アドバルーン 。久しぶりに見た。/ Today, when I go out advertising balloon I find! Advertising balloon. I saw for the first time in a long time.
Most contemporary references to ad balloons voiced similar sentiments. More quotes are included at bottom of this page.
7. Balloons of today and tomorrow
If advertising balloons are no longer a prominent cultural artifact in Japan, has anything taken their place? Perhaps the giant Hello Kitty ハローキティ that dominates the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Other Japanese characters join Kitty: Pikachu, Sonic, the Hedgehog, and Takashi Murakami’s 村上 隆 “Kaikai and Kiki.”[*][*]
These enormous balloons are too rare and too infrequently deployed to win the hearts and minds of Japan (emphasis on balloons. Hello Kitty, the brand, has already conquered the world).
8. Don’t think big, think small. And fuzzy.
The heir to the advertising balloon tradition isn’t a balloon, it’s a mascot. Many mascots.
Yuru-chara yurukyara ゆるキャラ (mascot characters マスコットキャラクター) are extremely popular marketing devices. And, like ad balloons, they are very Japanese. And in recent years, their popularity has soared. From Wikipedia:
“Although the concept had been around for some time, the start of the “yuru-chara boom” is accredited to Hikonyan,* who was created in 2007 to mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of Hikone Castle and created a significant increase in tourism and merchandise sales for castle and the city.
Gotōchi-chara Catalogue (ご当地キャラカタログ gotōchi kyara katarogu) is an online database which collects information about gotōchi-chara, yuru-chara and local heroes from user submissions. On October 2014 it surpassed 3,000 character entries.*
We are in the age of the yura-chara. At some point, this too will pass, like the Chindon’ya or the ad balloon.
Hard to imagine.
Resources and Notes:
- Asakusa Twelve-Stories is also known as: Ryōunkaku 凌雲閣 and Asakusa Jūnikai 浅草十二階, and now, the Meiji Sky Tree 明治のスカイツリー.
- Towers in Japan: 「ザ・タワー～都市と塔のものがたり～」展 江戸東京博物館
- 【明治のスカイツリー！】日本初の高層タワー！凌雲閣の雑学ランキング！[Meiji Sky Tree! ] Japan’s first high-rise tower! Ryōunkaku trivia rankings!
- 飛行機資料館 Airplane museum [ 風船・気球・軽気球・飛行船・飛行器・飛行機・航空機 ](主として日本の戦前までの所蔵する民間資料） [Balloon and balloon, dirigible, airship, flight instrument-airplane and aircraft (mainly Japan’s holdings to private documents of up to pre-war)
- From The Economist “Baseball arrived in Japan in the 1890s (along with “Spencer the balloon man”, who caused a sensation).”
- The Dominion of the Air; The Story of Aerial Navigation
- Some Japanese websites merely refer to Spencer by last name, or スペンサーの軽気球, Spencer of the Dirigible Balloon.
- Balloons, however, had been used by the Japanese military for ten years prior to Spencer’s arrival
- News clippings of Spencer スペンサー and Baldwin ボードウイン
- Great blog about Percival Spencer
- Percival Spencer’s obituary, in 1913: MR PERCIVAL SPENCER. The Most Famous Baloonist in the World.
- From Stanley Spencer’s obituary, DEATH OF A FAMOUS AERONAUT, in 1906:
“The only country in the world of which he was not a favourite was China. He made a parachute descent there, and the Celestials, full of emulation, took to throwing themselves from their roof tops without troubling to provide themselves with parachutes. The result was a serious increase in the death-rate, and an official order for Mr. Spencer to “move on.'” (Celestials was “a term widely used in the 19th century to describe people from the “Celestial Empire” of China’“)
Baldwin / The Baldwin Brothers. (Thomas Baldwin or William Ivy Baldwin)
- Thomas Baldwin Jumping in Golden Gate Park, January 1885
- Thomas Baldwin – Golden Gate jump review (National Aviation Hall of Fame)
- Thomas Scott Baldwin biography
- William Ivy Baldwin, aka “Ivy Baldwin” (EarlyAviators.com)
- View seen by balloonist Thomas Scott Baldwin while riding in a balloon above the clouds (1889)
- Per The Japan Weekly Mail (December 20, 1890), the ‘younger’ Baldwin brother performed the jump.
Kikugoro as Spencer
- Kabuki Plays on Stage: Restoration and Reform, 1872-1905
- Kikugoro’s performance is described as kyōgen 狂言 (comic drama) by one source.
- The text of Kikugoro’s speech is said to have been checked by a Unitarian missionary named McCaulay マッコーレー, whom I assume is Clay Macaulay クレイ・マコーレー (1843-1925)
- Source 5: “The word manga, however, which had existed since the late 18th century, was never used for the print illustrations we now think of until an artist working for the newspaper Jiji shinpō 『 時事新報 』 (Current News), Imaizumi Ippyō, used the word manga as a translation of “caricature.””
- The first aerial PR in Yokohama No.286 10月12日（金）初の空中PR横浜で (link removed)
- 見世物興行年表 (Spectacle box office chronology)
- “Can I rise to the heights my ancestors did? Charles Spencer’s aeronautic ancestors were no strangers to showbusiness.” (The Telegraph, November 2010)
- The Inflations and Deflations of the Spencer Family: Balloons, Bikes and Electric Camels (2013)
- Tokyo from Edo to Showa 1867-1989: The Emergence of the World’s Greatest City, Seidensticker
- Imaging Disaster: Tokyo and the Visual Culture of Japan’s Great Earthquake …
Ad balloons in Japanese society and culture:
- Ad balloon general history: 見上げる視線をくぎづけに！The line of sight to look up to glued! (NHK, August 2015)
- 1913: first ad balloon in Japan: 気球広告の第１号、化粧品の中山太陽堂 （2012.02.21）
- Graf Zeppelin in Japan, 1929
- 1930s Urban new landscape and air advertising balloons ball of. “Tokyo empty (Sukiyabashi vicinity)” starting, running manual basis memorandum surrounding advertising balloon of Shintaro Suzuki.
- 1930年代・東京：アール・デコの館（朝香宮邸）が生まれた時代」展.[PDF]“Tokyo in the 1930s and the Birth of Prince Asaka’s Art Deco Residence”[[PDF]
- Balloons on east side of Shinjuku Station, circa 1930: thetokyofiles: media
- A Japanese Advertising Agency: An Anthropology of Media and Markets (1996)
- In language, the expression “hoisting an advertising balloon” can be seen to mean the introduction of an ideas or concept via unofficial channels, as a way of testing the waters or in an attempt to influence later opinion or policy.
- The following footage from 1935 shows an ad balloon floating low in the heart of Ginza (at the 1:01 mark): YouTube
- Black Ships to Mushroom Clouds: A Story of Japan’s Stormy Century 1853-1945
- The February 26 Incident (Plenty of Nothing)
- “The many reinventions of Masamu Yanase” (The Japan Times)
- The Wikipedia article on Chindon’ya チンドン屋
- The word ‘street clown’ is 街頭のピエロ, with the katakana ピエロ referring to the French pantomime character, Pierrot.
- Another source notes that “samurai outfits, princess kimonos, hero getups from historical epics, even circus clown suits and Western cowboy costumes all have their place in chindonya.”[Ignition magazine: publication no longer available]
- 1974: Molding Japanese Minds: The State in Everyday Life (1997) – 133 balloons used to teach children how to “value goods and money”
Advertising balloons and Japanese film:
- For more about the PCL film studio, see: Expansion of Metropolis around 1930s 都市から郊外へ : 1930年代の東京
- Advertising balloons were used to promote the premier of the original Godzilla film (1954)
- Ad balloons seen from top of an office building in Ozu’s Late Autumn 秋日和 (1960):
Modern girls “moga“
- Exhibition book: モガ・オン・パレード : 小野佐世男とその時代 = Modern girls on parade : Ono Saseo and his eraMoga on parēdo : Ono Saseo to sono jidai (2012)
- “TAISHO CHIC: Modern girls and outrage” (The Japan Times, 2007)
- Gutai: Decentering Modernism, 2011)
- “Something Funny Happening At The Guggenheim? Try Gutai.” (Forbes, February 19, 2013)
- “This symbolic letting go of painting was the harbinger of a new generation of artists” (pg. 12, Art, Anti-art, Non-art: Experimentations in the Public Sphere in Postwar Japan, 1950-1970, 2007)
- “Watch Out for Japanese Balloons, Sheriff Warns” (June 5, 1945)
1964 Tokyo Olympics
- “2020 Olympic Games crucial for future of Japan: Organisers say they will be just as significant as the 1964 event, which marked the country’s emergence as a global economic power” (SCMP)
- The Complete Tokyo 1964 Olympics Film | Olympic History (YouTube)
- Balloons And A Banner Float Above A Crowd At The Opening Ceremony …
- Incredibly Detailed Balloon Animals By Japanese Artist Masayoshi Matsumoto
- Balloons in background of film “Ginza 24 Chou” 『銀座二十四帖』 (1955), also showing Tsukiji River prior to being filled-in and replaced with a highway. (Twitter)
- The highway underpass is the Inner Circular Route, built on top of the former Tsukiji River 築地川, which was paved over circa 1962. The sign for 築地川銀座公園 Tsukiji River Ginza park is at bottom, right.
Ad balloons above Hiroshima (1956)
Students filling an ad balloon:
Ad balloon uncomfortably close to power lines:
This guy seems to have a YouTube channel to teach katakana words to Japanese:
- Paper Balloon festivals
- Balloon Saga Station バルーンさが駅, a “seasonal station” operated only during the “Saga International Balloon Fiesta” (~ late October/early November); see Katakana Train Station of Japan
- Japan: Festival in Ojiya features balloons, fireworks (Stripes.com)
- Ginza chocolate shop explosion fire 銀座チョコレートショップ爆発火災 (1953)
- Journey of paper balloon 紙風船の旅
- Japan Balloon Association 日本バルーン協会 (JBA)
- Ad Balloon life guard: a unique job
- Ad balloon in the film “Black Sun”
- アドバルーン発言 – The phrase, ‘Advertising balloon remark’ is similar to an “off the record” remark. For example: ”日銀の利上げのアドバルーンも景気回復路線への牽制だと思います。” (see example: “advertising balloon of the Bank of Japan rate hike…source)
- Tokyo Disneyland stops selling balloons due to lack of helium (November, 2012)
- Ad Balloon woodblock print, 1935 (Twitter)
- Ad Balloon postcard, 1936 (Twitter)
Contemporary ad balloon quotes:
(1) これまでも何度かありましたが、年に一度か、何年に一度位にしか、上げられたことはなく、 / 珍しいものです・・・ / アドバルーン自体、 / 昔は結構ありましたが、最近では、珍しいのではないかと思います。。。
But also there was a few times so far, It once or a year, Only the years in once place, / Not that you raised, / A rare thing … / Advertising balloon itself, / Although the old days there was fine, recently, I think that it is or not is unusual in. . . [NOTE]
(2) アドバルーンはどこにいったんでしょう＾＾； / 最近みてませんよね？ / なぜ、アドバルーンが減ったのか。。。 / ちょっと推測してみました。 / ＠アドバルーンのお金が高い / ※セルフキットで13万円ぐらいですが、 / 飛ばすのに許可をだしたりがあるようです / ＠面倒である（手間がかかる） / ＠費用対効果が測れない / ＠高い建物が増えて目立たなくなった (source, broken link: quicksign jp/adbaloon/adbaloon-a html)
^^ Would you went to where the advertising balloon; / It ‘s not seen recently? / Why advertising balloon has decreased. . . / I tried to guess a little. / @ Of advertising balloon is high money / ※ Although is around ¥ 130,000 in a self-kit, / It seems there is a soup or a permit to fly / @ is cumbersome (time-consuming) / @ Can not be measured as cost-effective / @ It became less noticeable increasing number of tall buildings [NOTE]
(3) で、当時、今どきめずらしいアドバルーンです。 / In, at that time, it is nowadays a rare advertising balloon. [LINK]
If you look at the advertising balloon kid, it was what is exciting such as “there something is going on.” Ne not seen recently, and because it was felt that, what is happening, let us elaborate eye while driving. [SOURCE]