Ahhh, it’s gotten hot here in Japan. Rainy Season seems to be over, and with the end of the rain has come the heat, humidity, and what seems like droves of mosquitos. Luckily, this cute earthen pig from Mie Prefecture can help you out with that!
Bankoyaki is a sort of traditional, basic clay pottery that is used widely in Japan today. Popular items in this style include small teapots called “kyuusu”, earthenware pots called “donabe”, and this pig, called “kayari buta”.
So what does this have to do with mosquitos? Bankoyaki is prized not as much for its style, as its usefulness. This pig isn’t just decorative; as the name suggests (to those who speak Japanese, anyway), the pig actually holds mosquito coils, called “kayari”, on its inside. The smoke from the coils come out of the pigs mouth, and the pig is placed around the house near windows or doors, or right outside, to prevent mosquitos from coming in. The smell reminds me of summer!
Awww, look at that face!
Every year on the second Saturday and Sunday of May, the city of Yokkaichi (the birthplace of Banko Yaki) in Mie has a “Banko Matsuri” where you can talk directly to creators, browse many different booths and shops for pottery, and get a good deal on a new piece. Or, tourists can join a tour that showcase some of the areas the pottery is made.
And of course, these pigs aren’t just sold in Mie… you can find them any and everywhere in the summer as people work hard to prevent getting eaten alive by mosquitos right after the rain!