Taiko with Toni 2015 Hina Matsuri Festival opening set and introduction



Always a favorite at Denver Festivals, Taiko With Toni performed at the recent Hina Matsuri Festival.

I am excited as I have just started studying with this group.  Thank goodness I am the amateur videographer and won’t be performing!

Kokeshi Dolls at Hina Matsuri Festival


Kokeshi dolls originated as handmade wooden dolls with round limbless bodies and round heads.  The kokeshi doll may initially have had a spiritual significance.  Perhaps given as a gift to watch over a child as the child grew and representing the child’s guardian, keeper of the child’s soul or the giver’s wish for a healthy child.

Each doll was hand painted and no two faces where alike giving each doll an individual personality.  Possibly the giver carefully picked a doll representing a wish for the child such as to be creative and happy or industrious and serious.

The designs and patterns painted on the bodies were developed and passed down through the generations and provide clues as to the area where a particular doll was made.

Creative kokeshi dolls are a more modern doll and were first made after WWII.  Although they retain the limbless kokeshi characteristic, other features of these dolls are distinctly different such as more shapely bodies.  Creative kokeshi are designed by the individual artist and have modern charms unique to that artist.

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Whether a traditional or creative kokeshi doll the most striking characteristic is still the obvious pursuit of simple beauty.


The Art of Gaman in Internment Camps, a Display at Hina Matsuri Festival


An amazing display of the Art of Gaman at the recent Hina Matsuri Festival.  Art of Teizo Nonaka created during his four year internment at a “camp” where the family was imprisoned after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Gaman is a Japanese term which is hard to translate.  It is best described by a feeling in your heart and a determination of your will.  The words from your heart and spirit are hard to find but Gaman has sometimes been translated as “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity”, “perseverance”, “patience”, “tolerance, “self-denial”, “stoic endurance”.

Gaman for those imprisoned in the internment camps was to act with honor, to maintain self-control and discipline.

120,000 men, women and children were living in these internment camps.  They faced guards with machine guns in towers and barbed wire.

They had no furniture except for a black potbellied stove and cots.

My mom had many stories of making do in “camp” as she called it.  My dad was a soldier and interrogator for the US Army so he was not relocated to camp, although his wife was…

The internees used any piece of scrap wood and metal they could to practice their art.  A form of meditation, keeping their souls alive, practicing Gaman.  If they ran out of scraps they used anything they could, such as these peach seeds, for their art and carvings.





Can we today imagine how long four years of such uncertainty felt?

Wedding Kimono Displayed at Hina Matsuri Festival


This beautiful wedding kimono was displayed at the Hina Matsuri festival.  An iro-kakeshita kimono with amazing detailed embroidery.


Another type of wedding kimono is all white, the shiromuku kimono.  It is all white as the bride indicates her willingness to take the groom’s family colors.

The bride wears a type of veil or hood covering her face called a wataboshi.  The groom removes it at the end of the ceremony and underneath she wears another head covering called tsunokakushi.  (Tsuno means horns.)    This head covering represents the bride’s willingness to let go of jealousy and indicates her obedience to her new husband.


These colorful flowers are for good fortune and a deep connection to nature.


Photographs do not do this beautiful kimono justice.  I am grateful I am able to expirience artistry such as this at the festival each year.






Otafuku-San, the Goddess of Mirth!

Here are several beautiful examples displayed at the recent Hina Matsuri Festival.




With her smiling face she represents every woman. Her small mouth confirms she does not use unnecessary words.



Displaying Otafuku-San will insure a happy home or business and bring good fortune to all who come into her presence.


Hina Matsuri Festival at Simpson


Doll’s Day or Girls’ Day.  In Japan it is held every March 3rd.  At Simpson our Festival is held the first full weekend of every March, this year March 7th and 8th.

The Festival is open to the public and free of charge.

The families in the Japanese community display their amazing dolls, many of which have been in their families for generations.

Also on display are Bonsai (miniature plants and trees) and Ikebana (flower arranging).  Very welcome as we wait for spring to finally replace winter.

The ladies prepare Bento Boxes for lunch each day which are extremely popular and are sold out quickly.

A constant parade of activity on the stage in the gymnasium including Taiko Drums, Martial Arts and variety of music.

Hope you can join us!