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Tsurushi hina – Hanging decorations for Hina Matsuri

The Japanese will celebrate Hina Matsuri soon, so traditional decorations and dolls are now almost everywhere. If you visit an area like Komagome or Sugamo, you will see the most exquisite samples located at Japanese sweets (wagashi) or rice cracker (sembei) shops. So why not combine an excellent chance to sample old-fashioned sweets with an opportunity to take a closer look and maybe even a couple of photos of these colorful hanging decorations?Tsurushi Hina吊るし雛 or 吊るし飾り(tsurushi hina, tsurushi kazari) are traditional hanging decorations for Girl’s Day (March 3). As the day is also called Doll’s Day, it is only natural that people put out a pair of dolls representing an Emperor and Empress, and hang out tsurushi hina with various small, hand-made dolls and other objects. Each has a reason to be included in the decoration and symbolises a certain good wish. In that case flowers, animals, clothes, toys, and even vegetables are also called hina (dolls).Tsurushi HinaJapanese people started making tsurushi hina in Edo Period. Not every family could afford to buy and install expensive platforms with ornamental dolls at that time.Tsurushi Hina

Of course, everyone wanted their newborn baby girl to live a happy life, so something had to be done.  A cheaper, but still very nice replacement was made: mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and even neighbours created small dolls and gathered them together in tsurushi hina. Filled with care and love of many women, it was a very important talisman for the baby.Tsurushi HinaHanging decorations for Hina Matsuri originated in Fukuoka, Shizuoka, and Yamagata Prefectures. In Fukuoka it is called sagemon, in Shizuoka – hina no tsurushi kazari, and in Yamagata – kasafuku (傘福, which literally means “umbrella of happiness”).

Article by Olga Kaneda

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