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Senseis’ Voices


Hina Matsuri (Doll’s Festival)

Hina matsuri ひなまつりis known as a girls’ celebration, but it was not always this way. This festival used to be for all children, however a combination of girls’ tendency to play with dolls and the religious event of floating hina dolls down a river has shaped the origin of today’s doll festival.

Hina dolls started to be displayed in the homes of wealthy people in the Edo period (17th to 18th century) to pray for the healthy growth and development of their children. Those who were not able to afford expensive dolls, made simple ones and hung them in the house to pray. These dolls are named as tsurushi bina (literally hanging dolls) and are still often seen in the central and northeast regions of Japan.

David Wiley, 2007 [CC BY 2.0] (Flickr)

By User:Utudanuki (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Traditional hina dolls became a boom in 2017, due to a worldwide hit app. Masako Wakamiya (81 years old) developed a free game app for the iPad and iPhone, called ‘Hinadan App’ with older people in mind. It challenges players to sort all the hina dolls to their right place on a hinadan, a special step-alter for the dolls. The app is easy to use and lets players use their experience and knowledge of hina dolls.

We tend to assume that it is the youth who develop games on computers and that the older generations are out of the picture, but Masako encourages older people to utilise ICT and enjoy it. She sent the following message to young people via a TED talk; ‘please push older people’s backs gently towards ICT so that they can enjoy the latest ICT just as you do every day”.

By Michie Akahane, JPF Sydney
Contributed: February 2018

Photo: whale | Haline Ly

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