My Hinamatsuri


Every year for as long as I can remember, my mother brings out our family's hina-ningyo to celebrate hinamatsuri. These colorful dolls were special because they were only brought out for a few days each year. This year, I photographed the famililar figures to share a little of my family's and my own traditions. I hope you enjoy them!

Slides in this album 

My Hina-ningyo set

I remembered to put out my Hina-ningyo set this year. Since we just moved a couple of months ago, I knew exactly where it was in the storage room.

This particular set is a miniature ceramic set with 10 figures. It's very compact and easy to transport. My mother purchased …

Miniature Ceramic Hina Doll Set
Contributed by: vkm

Convenient miniatures

The sets are very convenient because they don't take up much space (which was ideal because both my sister and I were living in 1-bedroom apartments at the time).

This part features the Emperor & Empress dolls on a base that's just 6" wide x 3" long.

Mini Hina Doll Set - Emperor & Empress dolls
Contributed by: vkm

Collecting vs. Mottainai

I'm not sure if my sister remembered to put her set out this year. I'll have to ask her about it. She's two years younger than me and lives with her husband in Berkeley, CA.

She's actually more of a collector than I am. We come from a family …

Mini Hina Doll Set - Attendant
Contributed by: vkm

Traditions & stories

That's not to say that my sister doesn't keep things for sentimental reasons and I don't occasionally buy things for collection value. It's just that most of what I actively collect and keep usually has some story behind it. The value is not necessarily monetary, but one which you can …

Mini Hina Doll Set - Taiko Player
Contributed by: vkm

Our family hina-ningyo

For example, this is the hina-ningyo set that my mother has brought out for hinamatsuri each year for as long as I can remember. She still brings them out even though my sister and I have not lived with my parents for years now.

Hina Doll Set - Emperor & Empress
Contributed by: vkm

Comforting traditions

I suppose part of what's so great about observing cultural traditions is that it's comforting knowing that you're connected to something larger than yourself...and for those who are living far from where they're originally from, it's a way to feel connected to home.

Hina Doll Set - Emperor doll
Contributed by: vkm

Bringing Japanese culture to America

My mother was born in the United States but grew up in Japan from the time she was two, so her first language and primary culture is Japanese. When she came back to the United States and eventually started her family, she imparted on her daughters many of the traditions …

Hina Doll Set - Empress doll
Contributed by: vkm

Adapting traditions

My parents are very resourceful and adaptive. We didn't have a full hina-ningyo set so they displayed what we did have for hinamatsuri. In addition to the Emperor & Empress doll set, we also brought this girl doll out every year. Although not a traditional hina-ningyo, it was treasured and …

Ceramic Japanese girl doll w/flowers
Contributed by: vkm

Passing on traditions

This was another doll that we grew up seeing. It was a gift from one of my uncles (the one I mentioned earlier) presented when I was born.

My mother still has this at her house. I guess someday it'll come to live with me. I'm not sure what will …

Ceramic Japanese girl figure w/lantern
Contributed by: vkm

Album Type

online exhibition

vkm — Last modified Jun 28 2021 1:49 a.m.

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