Far, Far Away
Even before the coronavirus spelled the end for many summer festivals, several fireworks displays had been rescheduled or cancelled due to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Now that the Games have been postponed until next summer, displays could be pushed back yet another year to free up resources such as security guards for the sporting event.
“For fireworks manufacturers, the exit from the pandemic is far, far away,” Ogatsu said.
Hours before the show began, Ogatsu’s staff carefully placed their fireworks in metal launchers at the Ookunitama Jinja shinto shrine in Fuchu city, a Tokyo suburb, as a gentle rain fell.
The shrine held an elaborate prayer ceremony to bless the team and to tell the gods their wish for the virus to end.
The crew also inserted written messages praying for the end of the pandemic into the fireworks.
At the shrine, Ogatsu’s team fired 15 volleys into the sky, which burst up to 70 metres (230 feet) wide in a cascade of colorful sparks.
His company launched a total of nearly 100 fireworks from four locations across eastern Japan.
Ogatsu also included blue sparks to show his appreciation for medical workers.
“Of course I don’t think the coronavirus will disappear with our fireworks. But we wanted to do this and hope something good will come out of it,” he said after the event.
“The very purpose of fireworks is to bring out crowds and be seen by people. But we must not create crowds.”