Experience face writing of Hina Dolls in Iwatsuki City, Saitama Prefecture, where “My Dress-Up Darling” takes place.

The Japanese anime “My Dress-Up Darling” depicts how Gojo Wakana, a high school student who aspires to become a Kashirasi (a face-maker for hina dolls), and his classmate Kitagawa Marin, a cosplayer, become friends through making cosplay costumes.

From 20 December 2022 to 12 March 2023, a collaboration project was organized between the doll shop Suzuki Doll K.K., which the original author Shinichi Fukuda interviewed for the story “My Dress-Up Darling”, and the city of Iwatsuki, where the anime is set. Visitors were able to actually experience the ‘menso-write’ (writing the doll’s face) that Wakana performs in the animation.

What are hina dolls?

Hina Dolls are dolls displayed during Hinamatsuri, one of Japan’s traditional festivals. The purpose of the Hina Festival is to wish the girls good health and have the dolls take the place of the bad luck.

The instructors are Akito Suzuki, representative of the doll shop Suzuki Doll and Kohshin Okano, a traditional craftsman. In the workshop, participants apply eyebrows, lipstick and cheek rouge to their faces.

Tools are a fine brush and ink.

Heads actually distributed. Left before completion. Right is the finished product.

From left to right: thin eyebrows, lipstick, cheek rouge, thick eyebrows. After all, it is not possible to draw well just once. I thought the experience and concentration of the craftsmen were wonderful.

On the left is the piece I created for this project. On the right is the craftsman’s example. It’s obvious when you compare them.

Concurrent panel exhibition.

I am glad that traditional Japanese culture is spreading both at home and abroad through Japanese animation. Why not visit Iwatsuki, a sacred place for “My Dress-Up Darling”?

writer kato