Panasonic Lights Up A Tokyo River With A 100,000 LEDs

For a Japanese summer festival, Panasonic lights up a river in Tokyo with a 100,000 LEDs.

Japan’s festivals are steep with tradition, at least that’s what I’ve learn from all my hours of Anime watching (I just knew all those episodes of Inuyasha would come in handy!). Now, matsuri – the proper term for Japanese festivals – are long-honored events that are used to annually celebrate numerous occasions across the country, typically a shrine or temple’s deity, the arrival of a new season, or an important historical milestone.

As with any custom that’s been kept for hundreds of years, there are many significant cultural elements that have become part-in-parcel with each festival; the wearing of traditional clothing like kimonos or yukatas (depending on the time of the year), and sometimes processions, in which the local shrine/temple’s kami (deity) is carried through the town on an elaborate float.

In no way are these the kind of gatherings where change is ever considered to bring in a new crowd – get a bouncy castle or bring in a taco-bar – nope, these festivals play it strictly by the book. Although, that doesn’t mean that a new matsuri can’t be created with an infusion of technology and tradition into one single event. Case in point, the inaugural Tokyo Hotaru festival that was held a weekend ago, May 5-6 in Tokyo.

Sponsored by Panasonic (and you’ll learn why soon enough), the Tokyo Hotaru festival had one of the most dazzling main attractions I’ve ever seen on display, and perhaps on record. Seeded in the Sumida River, which runs through central Tokyo, where 100,000 LED lights. Whoa the lights, Duke! The lights! (You’re not using that 90’s reference right, kid!)

Photo by Jeremy.V

The LEDs used to flood the river where provided by Panasonic (ah-ha!), but interestingly, are based off the company’s latest light bulb, the EVERLED, a light source that promises better power efficiency and a bold lifespan of 19 years. For the Hotaru festival though, the LEDs where made to resemble fireflies (called hotaru in Japanese, hence the name), a common appearance during the Japanese summer months.

Another common appearance is the Japanese tradition of floating candles on the water, which is certainly what this type of illuminating attention-grabber is paying homage to. Oh, and with none of the risk of environmental damage, either, because the LEDs in question ran on solar power, the kind Captain Planet runs on, so you know its cool, and after the festival was over, were all vigilantly scooped up in a large net.

If only I could of been there in Japan. I bet the sight of a sea of blue lights sparkling across the dark river water must have been awesome. Welp, at least we’ll have the video evidence, and that will just have to do.

How would you like an iPad app that is capable of making 3D objects from pictures taken at different viewing angles? Or a chic Doctor Who corset that’s both a knock-out on the runway and on distant galaxies far and wide? Stick to Walyou and you’ll surely see that and lots more.