MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Shunan International Children’s Club invited School Age Care aboard Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, to celebrate the Hina Doll Festival at the Shinnanyo Fureai Center in Shunan City, supported by Shunan City and Hikari City, March 7, 2015.
The Hina Doll Festival, or Hinamatsuri, is a day in Japan when parents celebrate their daughters’ happiness, growth and good health, and is usually held on March 3.
During a Hinamatsuri, there is a five to seven-tiered display with a set of ornamental dolls, or hina-ningyo, that represents a court-style wedding ceremony of the emperor and empress.
The display contains an emperor and empress, three court ladies, five musicians, two ministers and furniture.
The festival began with an open ceremony where Kenichiro Kimura, the Mayor of Shunan City, spoke and provided station residents the chance to partake in multiple traditional Japanese activities and ceremonies including rice pounding, Japanese calligraphy, a Japanese tea ceremony and a chance to try on a Japanese kimono.
“It’s so interesting to see the way the Japanese show their appreciation,” said Marcelina Pearson, the youth director with SAC. “There is nothing in the states that I could compare this to.”
Female students from Hufo High School and Shinnanyo High School volunteered to be tour guides for SAC at the festival.
“On a day meant to appreciate daughters, these girls rode their bikes about 20 miles from their house to come help us experience this celebration,” said Pearson. “I can see why they’re appreciated.”
According to Taeko Saito, a librarian at the Shinnanyo Fureai Center, the enormous doll display and tea ceremony are not seen very often anymore which makes this day unique and special to both the American and Japanese visitors.
“This is a great way for Americans to learn about Japanese culture because they get to experience it hands-on,” said Saito.
A meal is always provided during Hinamatsuri, so after each group experienced all the activities available, they were provided curry and rice.
The festival ended with a closing ceremony and before the station residents left, they presented the director of the Shunan International Children’s Club a gift of appreciation for inviting them.