Japan: Hina Matsuri Dolls Festival

Today is the 3rd day of the 3rd month in the lunar calendar and I can’t resist making a comment on the Japanese Dolls festival, also known as Girls Day.

That Japan is a modern country is taken for granted these days but there remain many traditions and customs still woven into her cultural fabric.

For example, after my daughter was born her grandparents bought this Dolls Set (Hina Ningyo), all the pieces of which are carefully and individually wrapped and safely stored away until late February.

Whereupon the Emperor and Empress dolls awaken from their long sleep and are proudly displayed on a special set for all to see and admire.


(The Empress is on the right in this photo, as you look at it.)

This year we haven’t put out the gold colored screen and that’s why you can see the wall mirror! And, unfortunately, there are some pretty lamps and a fresh display of ume (plum) blossom that didn’t make the camera angle.

Still, I hope you can get a sense of the beauty and craftsmanship of even our simple one tier hina matsuri dolls set; some families have multiple tiers that can fill two or threetatami mats in a room!

Each year I see Ohina-sama (the empress) many of life’s deeper truths are gently calling me:

  • My daughter is growing out of childhood dependency.

  • Family love is a wonderful blessing.

There are ties that bind in the purest and noblest ways.
(For me these have been building a career in Japan, starting a family and sharing with loved ones.)

Much as I also enjoy running my own career change coaching business, and the welcome cash injection from the recent IT consulting gig, Ricardo Semler&‘s words still ring true:

Success is not measured only in profit and growth.

To all our daughters I have this to say:

Girls! Be Ambitious!

PS: Boys aren’t left out. The 5th day of the 5th month is the Boys Festival, which I think is a Japanese national holiday called Childrens Day. Maybe March 3rd should be a holiday too!!

PPS: Strange to look back at this post in Jan. 2018 and wonder where the years went. They go quickly, as almost every oldie will tell you. We are now empty nesters, although looking after the pooch keeps us busy as she’s an old girl now (14).