Celebrating children

LIHUE — Hinamatsuri, also known as the Doll Festival or Girls’ Festival, is a traditional Japanese observance falling on the third day of the third month. It is a time when people pray for the happiness and healthy growth of girls.

That, as well as Tango no Sekku, or Boys’ Day Festival, were both celebrated Saturday by the Kauai Japanese Cultural Society at the Kukui Grove Center food court area, where doll displays observing both celebrations were displayed in an empty tenant space near the Fun Factory.

“Children’s Day celebrates all children with wishes of health, happiness and long life,” said Pearl Shimizu of the KJCS. “Children’s Day was assimilated with Boys Day. Takeshi Fujita started doing Kodomo no Hi, which is the translation of Children’s Day, on Kauai’s Westside. The KJCS didn’t want to bang-bang with him and his celebration so we are celebrating all children to coincide with hinamaturi.”

The event offered a variety of traditional dance performed by different groups practicing Japanese dance, taiko performances by both the Tsunami Taiko and the Joyful Noise groups, and a wide variety of make-it-and-take-it crafts hosted by the Japanese clubs from Kapaa and Kauai high schools.

“A lot of these practices arrived with the Japanese immigrants to work on the plantations,” said Bobby Girald of the Kauai Bonsai Club, who offered a display of member specimen, a bonsai sale and demonstrations. “When the Japanese arrived here, there were accustomed to using black pine for their bonsai. But there were no black pine in Hawaii, and they used ironwood as a substitute. Today, there are some ironwood specimen which have much finer leaves than pine which attract a lot of attention.”

Girald was working on grooming a black pine specimen he grew from seed.

“You have to grow a lot,” he said. “I started these in the 1960s, and there were a lot of plants that didn’t make it. This one is one that survived.”

Next on the calendar for the KJCS is the bon dance season hosted by the Kauai Buddhist Council. Beginners bon dance practice already started at the West Kauai Hongwanji, Hanapepe Temple on Thursdays at 6 p.m. Practice will start at the Kapaa Hongwanji Mission on Mondays at 7 p.m. starting March 7.

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