Time To Say Goodbye To Dolls

Since 1998, Tagesan Fudoson (多気不動尊)/Tagesan Jihouin Fudoson (多気山持宝院不動尊) of Shingon school (真言宗) Buddhist temple has been holding a ritual ceremony around mid February for old dolls that the owners decided not to keep at home anymore. It is an annual ceremony during which the temple treats the dolls as human beings when dead - by cremating them.

This was my first time to photograph this event, my positioning was bad and the best shooting position was completely taken by a bunch of old dudes with fancy DSLRs with expensive lenses.

The ceremony started off with the Buddhist monks chanting. Then gasoline was used to start a fire. It took less than 10 minutes of that for more than 100 fancy dolls to turn in ashes...
By the way, the most exciting event organized by the temple is a fire walking ceremony every May. We are planning to attend it this year. Photos of last year's ceremony are below. Click photos to enlarge.

This is Our World Tuesday Week 26 entry.


  1. とても立派な兜人形や市松人形なので、私なんかは勿体ないなぁなんて思いますが、これらのお人形は本来与えられた子供を守りその役目を終わらせてあげる方が良いのでしょうね。そんな物に魂が宿ると考えるアミニズムが日本人の美点なのかもしれませんね。轟々と燃える炎の中のお人形に供えられた白い花と赤青林檎と懸命に祈る僧侶の姿に何故か新しい季節の訪れを感じます。素晴らしい写真に感謝です。

  2. Wonderful and colourful shots.
    But I would never put my old dolls on sadly.

  3. Oh dear...I would have loved to adopt one or two of those dolls. I inherited a collection of dolls from all around the world from my grandmother and add to it when I can. One or more would have been welcome here.

    But...the photos are fascinating to see. You share a very different world with us.

    I remember your photos from the fire walking ceremony last year. They really told the story and I was VERY impressed by them. I'll be looking forward to what you capture in May.

  4. Nice reportage of an unknown custom here. Thanks for showing.

  5. Wonderful work Yoshi getting in close to the action. It is sad to see such beautiful dolls put to fire, but I understand the symbolism. I hope you have a fantastic week :^)

  6. Aw, so sad! I'd never be able to burn a doll...

  7. Great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vertmilon River, Canada.

  8. I have never heard of this ceremony, but I think your photos came out great. In the U.S., we just donate the dolls.

  9. A long time ago, I took my old set of Hina Dolls to 宝鏡寺 Hokyo-ji Temple in Kyoto.
    I imagine my dolls also had been cremated like this, and ashes had been buried under the memorial stone tablet. I wonder whether there are any countries in the world which treat the dolls like human beings. The ceremony of the doll cremation is the one I want to see very much. There are a lot of spectacular events in one day. How gorgeous! I enjoyed and fully felt the exciting atmosphere. Stunning photos.


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