When Dolls Come to Life
In Japan we have an annual event called “Hinamatsuri” or Doll’s Day on March 3rd. Hinamatsuri is an event where you pray for the safety of girls, decorate dolls called hina-ningyo, and eat chirashizushi, sushi rice topped with raw fish and other ingredients.
At Ichihime Shrine where they worship the guardian of women, there is an event called “Hiinamatsuri”, a hinamatsuri event with one extra i. What is special about this event is how real people are wearing Heian period clothing like the junihitoe twelve layered kimono, and so replicate the hina-ningyo dolls with people. Hina-ningyo means hinamatsuri doll, but these human “dolls” are called hito-bina, a play with words, hito meaning human. The hina-ningyo dolls sit on platforms, so of course the hito-bina people also sit on platforms. You can only see the “hito-bina” during in this festival. There are other events too, where you can see into the elegant life of the aristocracy during the Heian period. If you go to this event, I am sure you will feel like you slipped through time into the Heian period!