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Hina Matsuri (Hina Doll Festival)

Hina Matsuri (Hina Doll Festival)

March 3rd was one of my favorite festivals in Japan – Hina Matsuri.  Hina Matsuri is otherwise known as the Hina Doll Festival and celebrates Girl’s Day.  It is a day to pray for the health and wellbeing of young girls.  It’s celebrated through displaying a set of often very ornate and beautiful dolls which portray the royal court of the Heian Period (794 to 1185).

It has it’s origins in the Heian period and the belief that dolls can entrap bad spirits.  Usually in the weeks leading up to the Hina Matsuri storefronts, historic buildings, and families put the dolls on display which traditionally inclues the dolls sitting on a tiered shelf resembling steps draped in red fabric.  My town has a very old looking historic street/district where some historic buildings are opened and have large displays of dolls including some antique ones.  I have a lot of fond memories of going to see the doll displays with my wife while we were dating.  She is the youngest daughter of her family and thus she never got her own set of dolls, so I bought a small set which I put out for her.  I want to buy a proper set some day, but they can be expensive easily passing the thousand dollar range for a finely crafted set wearing many layered kimonos.

Here are a few photos I took during last year’s Hina Matsuri.

Continuing with my hina matsuri photos

Continuing with my hina matsuri photos

As I mentioned in previous posts, the area I live in was fortunately not directly affected by the massive earthquake and tsunami. People here are going about their business as normal despite potential for a triple nuclear meltdown at the striken Fukushima nuclear power plant. I guess while I sit here too and wait for some good information (which has been in scarce supply), I’ll go about finishing up my series on the Hina Matsuri.

This came from a roll of film I was experimenting with.  I shot Tri-X at EI200 and pulled development a bit.  Some people say this produces really nice images.  I personally am not impressed and prefer Fujifilm Acros@200 over Tri-X@200.

Continuing the series of Hina Matsuri dolls

Continuing the series of Hina Matsuri dolls

This doll that I found in the garden of a temple is SO CUTE. I wonder if they would sell him to me :-3

The emperor and empress dolls wear traditional kimonos from the Heian era (792-1192AD) consisting of 12 layers, no doubt a part of the reason for the high cost of these.


Vintage Hina Doll

Vintage Hina Doll

My girlfriend and I went around a historic part of town which had several houses and buildings open with many Hina Matsuri dolls on display inside, including some vintage dolls.

(c) 2011 William Milberry

Ohinasama

Ohinasama

I went to an historic district in my town to see more of the Hina Matsuri.  Many dolls, including some vintage ones were on display in some old historic buildings.   Some Hina matsuri dolls are worth thousands of dollars.

Hina Matsuri

Hina Matsuri

After shooting just one roll of Agfa APX film I’m in love with it.  Agfaphoto ceased operations about 5 years ago and the remaining stock of this film will soon be sold out worldwide 🙁  I’ve bought 20 rolls and am considering stocking up on more.

Shot through a dirty store window with wires embedded in the glass.  I rather like the effect

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Hina Doll Festival

Hina Doll Festival

Right now is the Hina Matsuri or girl’s doll festival in Japan.  It’s a festival for girls and is observed by displaying a set of dolls on a stair shaped platform.   You can read more over at wikipedia.  Dolls are displayed not only in private homes, but also in many storefronts.

I bought a roll of Agfa APX film the other day.  AGFA has been out of business for years and this film is fast disappearing as the stock is bought up.  It is brilliant and beautiful film.  It’s quite expensive in Japan, costing 2x what I pay for Tri-X, but I like it and think I am going to buy the remaining rolls in the store where I found it.

This was shot on APX: