Nintendo shared a video of Splatoon 3 squid kites for the New Year. It is a short clip at only six seconds long, but it shows the Inkling and Octoling flapping in the air. There is no news as to whether or not Nintendo plans on selling these Splatoon 3 kites as merchandise. [Thanks, Game Watch!]
— Splatoon（スプラトゥーン） (@SplatoonJP) January 6, 2023
The squid kites are a reference to a New Year custom in Japan. Back during the Edo period, you could not fly kites in Japan except during the New Year. In Japanese, the word “tako” is a homonym for both “kite” and “octopus.” However, Nintendo flying “squid kites” is actually a reference to Japanese kite history. In the past, the word for kite was actually “ika-nobori,” with “ika” being a homonym for “kite” and “squid.”
Part of the reason why you couldn’t fly kites back in the day was because large kites would fall down and cause damage to fields or buildings. Not only that, but people playing with kites might get into fights. These fights sometimes resulted in injuries or even death. As a result, the government banned kites. The residents got around that by pretending that they were flying tako-age and not ika-nobori, and thus the Kanto region started to call kites “tako.”
Aside from a little history lesson, Nintendo’s Splatoon 3 squid kites are its celebratory message for the New Year. Splatoon 3 is available on the Nintendo Switch.