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

Thank you Mitsuru for sharing your sister’s doll display with us and the song. I love the picture of you and your sister as children. Our Hina Matsuri Festival is this weekend in Arvada, Colorado.

Nagataya Kyoto Japanese Calligraphy, Shodō

Today we celebrate Hina Matsuri, the girls festival. The dolls in the picture are from my parents home in Japan, we do the display of the dolls more or less a week before Hina Matsuri. We did the display of Hina Matsuri because of my sister. My grand father bought the dolls for her long time ago.
It is said that the dolls protect girls from suffering diseases, bad luck and bring them happiness in future. There are several supersticions about this celebration, it is said that if you don´t put away the dolls after Hina Matsuri the girls will remain single extra time. My mum was very concerned about that!
There are several figures but the most important are on the top of the pyramid they are called odairisama and ohinasama, and represent the Emperors figure. Then, there are other figures below other members…

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Pictures From Past Hina Matsuri Festivals


This is the doll exhibit room.  Families from the Japanese community and others exhibit their dolls each year in March in Arvada, Colorado.  Free and open to the public.

Having this extraordinary collection of dolls in one place is an amazing experience.

I am a sansei or third generation and I am just learning about the dolls myself.  Please excuse me if I have some of the facts wrong, I would appreciate your corrections.  I have no one to learn from except the Internet!


Here is an example of one altar, the Emperor and Empress are in the center top.  The members of their court arranged below them.

The lower steps are in this order:  three Court Ladies (with sake equipment); five Musicians; two Ministers (one old and wise the other one young); the three protectors or Samurai; items from inside the palace; and the bottom platform, items used outside the palace (lacquer food boxes for trips) or items from outside the palace.


This is a display of origami for sale to the public.

hina Matsuri 2

There will also be a table where you can learn simple origami and a table where your name will be written in Japanese characters.

hina Matsuri 1

Here is another example of the Emperor and Empress. Behind them is a folding screen.  The round table holds sweet treats.  The diamond table holds diamond shaped rice cakes.


There will also be flower arranging displays, bonsai displays and live entertainment also free of charge.

Bento lunch boxes will be offered for sale in the early afternoon while supplies last.

Hope to see you there and here is a link to more information for March 2016.

Arigato gosaimasu!




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!