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Hina Doll Exhibit on Display through January

Hisao Sakai, a former special lecturer in the Department of Foreign Language Studies, donated his family’s Japanese Hina doll collection to Providence College in 1993. It is on display on the main floor of the Phillips Memorial Library through January 31.  

According to library records, “the professor saw the exhibit as a tool to present one aspect of Japanese culture, for international understanding, and to encourage student interest in Japan’s language and culture,” said Robin Rancourt, archives assistant.

Originally dating to the Heian period (794-1185 A.D.) Hina dolls represent the emperor, the empress, and their court. They were initially used in spiritual ceremonies in which the dolls were believed to possess the power to contain evil spirits. In the ceremony, Hina Nagashi (doll floating), the dolls were set on small boats and sent down a river, taking the bad spirits with them. 

Today, these dolls are given to young girls as gifts in celebration of “Girls Day” on March 3, with the intention of bestowing good luck on the recipient for years.


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