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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)


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March 02, 2006
All the little princesses...
Filed in: Current Affairs, Japan, Photography

It has been bitter cold in Tokyo this trip. Hovering around freezing - and humid - so it just feels cold in the bones.

What then does one do to take a few photos of something interesting - and stay inside?

Well, I asked if there was anything going on indoors - and this is where they pointed me...

In Japan, whenever a little girl is born, their parents or grandparents - sometime in the first year of their birth - obtains a 'Girl's Day' display. Girl's Day is officially celebrated March 3rd each year (it's at least a several hundred year old tradition).

What's a Girl's Day display? Traditionally, it is a tableau of the Emperor and Empress sitting on their thrones - and may contain more elaborate displays of support staff - depending on how much you want to spend. When the clerk showed me the Girl's Day display here in Kichijoji - I could have sworn I was in a museum rather than a department store.

The craftsmanship for what is now commercialized art is really amazing - the hours of work invovled must be staggering.

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The displays are as diverse as any art form I have ever seen....

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Each costume, each backdrop, each setting, and each figure varies between artists and design. The block that you may notice on some of these tableaus is the name of the particular artist that designed the particular setting. Some of them develop a significant following.

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Some of the backdrops are hand painted - sometimes they are unique works of art - only used for this particular display.

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Some of the settees are really fine pieces of furniture - amazing that they are just put out on March 3rd traditionally.

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Like music - there can be a particular form - with infinite variations.

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Larger displays incorporate more 'furniture', perhaps 'guards', or ladies in waiting.

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In this one store - there were at least 200 different tableaus on display.

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You can spend from around $200 to around $5,000 dollars (at least in this store) on one of these things (this one is going on special for about $1,100).

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This one is about 3K. And includes jewelry boxes and quite a menagerie for the Emperor and Empress.

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All of these are handcrafted (in some cases on an assembly line of sorts) in Japan. All the fabrics are selected from the Kimono silk manufacturers and are hand sewn.

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Each fgurine is hand painted. With the porcelain doll interest in the states, I'm surprised that these aren't collectors items in the US.

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I asked the clerk how this tradition started - I think I understood her to say that the display conveyed the sense from the family to the little girl they brought into the world that she was royalty to them - their little princess.

I hope my little princess realizes that if we had such a tradition that I would have brought home the biggest, most beautiful one in the store - even if we had to build onto the house to display it.



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People Pulling

I hope she reads this, MC.

...My favorite is the 9th from the bottom... cherry blossoms.

Maybe it's time to START a tradition!

EMCEE: Shell! I hope so too - I'm trying to figure out how to get one of these things shipped back to the US. I think it's a good tradition to start too. Thank you!

Posted by: Shelleigh (aka Pie Shell) at Mar 2, 2006 2:31:27 PM

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