Monday, March 2, 2015

happy doll's day

painted on a round chikuma-sen card. the quote is from Proverbs 12:4
Hinamatsuri (Doll's Day or Girl's Day) is a celebration of girlhood and marriage that is held in Japan on March 3 of each year. Families with young daughters traditionally display ornamental dolls called hina-dolls that represent the Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians in the traditional court dress of the Heian period. They make offerings at the shrine and pray for their daughters' health and happiness, dress the girls up in pretty kimonos, and hold tea parties for them with special treats. The hina-doll displays are usually set up in late February and taken down on March 4. Superstition says that leaving the dolls up past March 4 will ruin a girl's chances for marriage.

Today's parents and grandparents may still believe that a good marriage is key to a girl's happiness, but many of the girls themselves are growing into women with different priorities. If it comes to a choice, today's young Japanese woman is more likely than ever to choose her career over marriage or raising a family. Her free time is more likely to be spent in the company of like-minded women friends rather than family or boyfriends. A term that has come into use to mean women-only parties is joshikai.

In my second etegami, I took a humorous view of Doll's Day by bringing the Empress-dolls all together for a wrap-up party on the day after the festival. Neither the Emperor-doll nor the male courtiers are present. The dolls depicted in this etegami range from the super-expensive ones that are bought at fancy department stores and meant to last for many generations, to those made by kindergarten children from colored paper and empty juice bottles. One of the dolls is made from a boiled egg. Some of the dolls have black smudges over the eyes (where the eyebrows were shaved off). This was a fashion among the aristocrats of the Heian court. The writing on the card says "joshikai" (girls' party).


  1. I really enjoyed both artworks , but also just loved reading the cultural background. Thank you so much!

  2. Quite a nice alternative in the last picture!

  3. I love Hina Matsuri and I love both of your etegami! The first is lovely and makes me warm inside. The second is clever beyond words and made me laugh out loud! Very clever, Debbie. I never get tired of getting your perspective.

    Have some arrare senbei for me. I'm missing it here.

  4. lovely etegami and very interesting to read the background info!

  5. Happy Hinamatsuri and enjoy the girls'party!