March 3, 2010

Doll Festival


Today is Hina Matsuri (雛祭り) in Japan. It's sometimes called the Doll Festival in English. It is a day to wish good health and happiness for young girls.

Traditionally, the young girl's maternal grandparents would send this Hina Doll set in hopes that no bad things will happen. The doll set can have as many as 10 steps, decorated with many dolls, such as the Emperor and Empress, court ladies, and musicians. But as many people live in apartments that don't have as much space, smaller versions of the doll set are also popular.


Tokorozawa is actually very famous for their Hina Dolls. The history of Hina Doll craftsmanship in Tokorozawa can be found from over 160 years ago.

I talked to the nice lady at Shugetsu Kodera Ningyo, one of the Hina Doll shops near Tokorozawa station, and she told me that although many places have closed down from a lack of successor, there are still many Hina Doll shops around Tokorozawa.


This headless doll seems a little scary, but actually at this shop, they specialize in making the body of the dolls. The lady told me they order the heads from a different craft center.

Everything is handmade and very beautiful. You can even have them use your own Obi, a thick belt to wrap around a kimono, to make you an original doll!

I hope young girls all over Japan are enjoying the Doll Festival today!

10 comments:

Tall Gary said...

Wow!

The beauty you have captured sends shudders throughout me.

So this is what might be Heian-period 12-layered jûnihitoe kimono. And that wave pattern with the birds (are they cranes?) on the man...

This is all so ineffable. I must stop writing and merely continue sighing...

lewi14 said...

Wonderful shots. This are very nice and interesting puppets. I feel with Tall Gary's emotion.

Mo said...

What beautiful dolls

arabesque said...

japanese are just keen on these stuff,
still studying their language till now, and i must say apart from their uber politeness, there's just tons of matsuri to celebrate upon.
it's hard to remember!^0^
the dolls look cute though, i thought they come cheap! haha,
silly me!

Hilda said...

Oh Kaori, the kimonos are absolutely gorgeous!

Wishing all the young girls there good health and much happiness!

Deden said...

very interesting picture.. look at the dolls, the were so detail, the kimono just like tho one used by real people.. I like Japanese devotion about everything, super serious and just like a way of live..

may the good health always be with them, and us.. amin..

Babzy said...

Very interesting story , the dolls are beautiful !

VP said...

You posted some really beautiful pictures. The idea of the headless dolls completed from heads from elsewhere is a bit strange but fascinating. A very nice post!

gogouci said...

I am so glad I visited your blog today. Just yesterday, I saw an exhibit of these types of dolls at the city library but there wasn't any description attached. Now I know. Thanks.

Kaori said...

Hi everyone! I'm glad you liked the photos of the Hina Dolls. Each doll is so unique and so detailed, I was in the shop for quite awhile! Next time I hope I get to take photos of them making the dolls ;D

Thank you for all the comments!

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