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Girl’s Day celebration planned

The annual Girl’s Day Festival will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Hawaii Japanese Center, 751 Kanoelehua Ave. The event is free to the public.

This year’s Girl’s Day festival will feature a display of the center’s extensive collection of Japanese dolls, tea ceremony by the Urasenke Hilo Association and food demonstrations by the ladies of Subaru telescope. Included are performances by the Puna Taiko group, the koto students of Shizuko Akamine, and a karaoke group singing Japanese children’s songs. Also, old 78 rpm records of children’s songs will be played on a 1920s hand-cranked Victrola. Ben Franklin will conduct “make it and take it” workshops. Richard Fukui will be offering pain relief therapy sessions. Skilled crafters will have unique handmade Girl’s Day items for sale. There will also be food booths, including andagi, Ikebana arrangements, and Girl’s Day and other related Japanese children’s books from the Book Gallery. Kimono dressing and picture taking will also take place throughout the day.

At 1 p.m., girls are invited to participate in our first ever Girl’s Day mini Cherry Blossom Princess Parade of Girls dressed with the Girl’s Day theme in mind, “kimono” or “Sunday Best.” Girls ages infant to 16 are welcome and eligible. Several local judges will select the young girls from different age brackets who best represent the Girls Day theme. Winners will receive a ribbon and gift from the Center.

This year’s Girl’s Day graphic was designed by Tiana Honda, a senior at Waiakea High School and member of the school’s Japanese Club. Flyers for signing by the budding Waiakea artist and limited issue T-shirts will be available at the event.

A new vintage gift shop will be launched on Girl’s Day. The shop is called the Hawaii Japanese Center “Mukashi Mukashi aru tokoro ni,” which means long, long ago the traditional beginning of many Japanese folktales. The gift shop will feature gently used Japanese items as well as new and interesting items, such as the Wabi Sabi cat series designed by Brian Tanimoto and Jerry Sasaki based on a drawing by Brian’s daughter, Erynn Tanimoto, at age 13. The proceeds of the gift shop will be used to support the center’s efforts to share with the community the rich history and cultural traditions of Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.

Hinamatsuri, or Girls Day, is celebrated on March 3 — the third day of the third month — and is an occasion to pray for a young girl’s growth and happines. Hinamatsuri comes from the ancient Chinese who believed that the sins of the body and any misfortunes could be transferred to a doll and washed away by setting the doll adrift in a river. When this practice spread to Japan, it was linked to girls playing with dolls in the Edo Period and developed into Hinamatsuri.

Onna no Sekku, which translates to “Girl’s Festival,” is usually celebrated with parents or grandparents presenting a set of Ohina dolls to their daughter or granddaughter at birth or on her first birthday, and these traditionally become a part of her bridal trousseau. The dolls are put on display about a week before the actual day. However, they are quickly put away at the end of the day on March 3, as leaving the dolls out beyond that date is considered unlucky and may lead to delay in a girl’s marriage. The dolls are carefully rewrapped and packed away, not to be seen until the next Hinamatsuri.

One particular food that is served for Hinamatsuri and is considered very lucky is steamed rice with red beans. A pink mochi called sakura mochi is filled with red bean paste, wrapped in a cherry leaf and eaten for dessert. In Hawaii, the cultural traditions of Girl’s Day continue with the display of Japanese dolls and the sharing of hinamatsuri foods in a number of island homes.

The mission of the Hawaii Japanese Center is to serve as a bridge for diverse generations of the future to understand the triumphs and struggles of Japanese immigrants to the island of Hawaii through its educational and cultural activities and access to its collections. The center is a non-profit 503(c)(3) organization. Please contact for more information.


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