- 'Rope-fire'. Japanese fireworks, so-called because the traditional method was to fill a bamboo tube with gunpowder and fire it along a rope. The method was used for signalling and setting fire to high places. (For other types see Hanabi taikai). Fireworks are used at a number of shrine festivals in summer and early autumn where their use is probably related to prayers for rain and the ripening of the crop. Notable examples, all from Ibaraki are the katsuragi-ryu (a lineage of performers) tsunabi which combines hayashi music and tsunabi puppets at the Hitokotonushi jinja (13th September) and the karakasa manto ritual at Washi-jinja. 'Karakasa' is a huge Chinese-style bamboo 'hat' set on fire by a tsunabi from a torii 100 metres away, manto means '10,000 lights. The takaoka-ryu (also a lineage) tsunabi at Atago jinja on July 23rd by the lunar calendar are attached to puppets who, when they are shot along the ropes appear to be performing unsupported.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.