Fireworks and a father’s farts: two quintessential summer experiences.

Summertime in Japan means fireworks. Those brilliantly colorful streaks of light across the night sky are delights to people of all ages. However, the spectacle often overlooks the sophisticated and deep art that goes into creating them.

Firework makers strive to create ephemeral beauty by creating a display of raw explosive power that ultimately belies its own impermanence. In this way they hope to create what the French call “l’instant éternel,” a moment of pure transience that somehow manages to bend time for those who behold it.

This is also what our resident fireworks curator Masanuki Sunakoma is searching for as well. This time his pursuit of beauty brought him to the Oyaji no Pu-sen which translates to “Pops’ Fart-loon,” the latter word of which is a portmanteau of “fart” and “balloon.”

“Ah indeed!” thought Masanuki. What better symbol of summer is there than a father lying in his underwear while his intestines struggle to perform their regular digestion under the intense heat and thus produce flatulent gas.

According to the package, the user must light the fuse sticking out of pops’ head. After a few seconds a whistling sound will be heard and then the balloon attached to his anus will inflate as a visual representation of his internal struggle.

Masanuki cautiously lit the fuse while trying to capture its beauty on camera.

The fuse gave out a healthy sputter of vermillion sparks, but this was just the warm-up.

The sparks grew to a crescendo.

But then, it quickly died down.

Again, a mighty burst emerged, this time accompanied by a high pitched whistling sound.


The blast was so strong it displaced Father by about an inch and a half.

And then nothing….

Masanuki watched the balloon, eagerly awaiting the coup de grâce.

Masnauki: “Come on, Pops!”

Masanuki: “Come on, Dad!”

Masanuki: “COME ON, FATHER!”


The unexpected Oedipal rage that filled Masanuki gave him a moment of pause. Much like one might stare at rose-colored flowers of fire in the sky, he started silently in contemplation at his half-naked father with a comb-over and cat scratching his back.

“Maybe this was the point,” he thought to himself. Had the fart-loon inflated, Masanuki would have giddily clapped his hands and gone on with his life. But this disappointment only served to stretch out a few seconds into what felt like a dismal eternity.

▼ An animated gif showing how long the process lasted in real-time

Could that have been the legendary l’instant éternel – achieved not through wonder and whimsy, but through sadness and disgust? It’s possible, but then again, it’s also possible the thing was just busted.

Masanuki would never know for sure, but the art of fireworks exists in the realm of uncertainty. That’s what makes it such an indispensable part of a Japanese summer.

Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]