Hinamatsuri 2010

This post was inspired by an article on Asahi Shimbun. March 3rd marks an important holiday in Japan to little girls everywhere, including my little girl since her mother’s side is Japanese: Girl’s Day or Hinamatsuri. The word “hina” (雛) means princess or empress, while matsuri (祭り) is a festival. The origin of Hinamatsuri and our doll display at home are covered in another post from last year, so I will not rehash these again. However, I did take a nice picture of a doll-display at the local Japanese import store here in Seattle, Uwajimaya, I wanted to pass along (taken by cell phone camera, apologies for the lack of quality):

Hinamatsuri at Uwajimaya

Anyway, I wanted to talk about the article, which I thought was a nice piece on what happens to the dolls the rest of the year. Speaking from experience, our little Emperor doll and Empress doll spend most of the year in nicely insulated boxes, and have travelled three continents (Asia, Europe and North America), but their life must be dull in those boxes, so as I read the article I found myself tempted to take them out. I have actually seen someone at work who visited Japan display a basic doll set in their office so the article has hit upon a trend I think.

For my part, I have a big interest in all things relates to the Heian Period and earlier Nara Period, as evinced in my writings on Lady Murasaki’s diary, so these doll sets with their dress and imagery of an ancient Imperial wedding from that bygone era really fascinate me. Last Wednesday night, I put our more humble doll-display at home:1

Hinamatsuri 2010 at home

I admit it’s a labor of love2 I do each year, and I am always a bit loathe to take it back down, but tradition is tradition, and I want to ensure my little girl has a nice, peaceful marriage when she gets older. I’d leave the display out all year, but it’s still nice to enjoy it at least for the upcoming “Peach Festival” better known now as Girl’s Day.

Happy Girl’s Day!

Update: I found a good article here on the Asahi Shinbun relating to a certain tradition in Kyoto for Girl’s Day involving dolls floated down the river called nagashibina (流しびな). I was only dimly aware of this myself.

1 Last year’s photos had some parts missing as we lived in Ireland and some parts had been packed in storage by accident, rather than brought with us. This year, it’s nice to have everything back and in one piece. :)

2 And wracked nerves. Those things are pretty delicate and have lots of tiny, easy to break parts. My clumsy, fat barbarian fingers were not designed for this.

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About Doug

A Buddhist, father and Japanophile / Koreaphile.
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4 Responses to Hinamatsuri 2010

  1. Robert says:

    the “display only” and “please do not touch” signs kind of spoil the effect of that shop display.

    I sort of like the sparseness and seasonality of traditional Japanese décor. Everything packed away in boxes until it’s put out for a while in the right season.
    Of course the other style I’ve seen in movies is the books everywhere décor of the impoverished writer, which is more the way I’m going!

  2. Doug says:

    the “display only” and “please do not touch” signs kind of spoil the effect of that shop display.

    If you knew the neighborhood the shop was in, it might make more sense. It’s far removed from Picadilly Square and the Japan Centre, believe me. :-/

    Good point about the beauty of sparseness and seasonality, which are definitely hallmarks of Japanese “art”. I was going to write on that coincidentally soon after reading a book on Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the infamous shogun.

    My book collection has been large at times, and I was forced to trim down to “essential” books only (still one whole bookshelf, yikes). Amazing how few books you actually need, which I didn’t appreciate until I moved back to the States and had little to carry with me.

  3. angeles cruz says:

    What did Nichiren Daishonin think about the hinamatsuri?

  4. Doug 陀愚 says:

    Hello and welcome. Unfortunately, I am not a Nichiren follower at all, so I can’t answer your question. Also, the practice of Hinamatsuri probably comes after Nichiren, so I doubt he had an opinion about it anyway. Thanks!

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