Kodomo No Hi, or Children’s Day (formerly Boy’s Day), is traditionally celebrated on May 5 in Japan, but the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii gave locals a head start with its “Keiki Fun Fest” on Sunday. There were all kinds of activities from kids’ games to calligraphy, crafts and gifts for sale, demonstrations and live performances, and food (including “tako balls” and the famous KC Drive Inn waffle dogs).
The centerpiece for us was the formal kimono dressing and portrait sittings. They’re part of the Japanese tradition of Shichi Go San, which translates simply to “Seven Five Three,” a rite of passage for boys three and five years of age and girls three and seven years of age. It’s usually observed in November, but again, the JCCH was happy to offer it early. Our sons, Zac and Alex, are five and three years old, so this was their year. We signed Katie up as well, even though she’s ten (and even though she did Shichi Go San when she was five — yeah, not the best timing).
The kimono dressings are done by Masako Formals, and the portraits by King Digital Imaging. And the package is not cheap. But the dressing alone is impressive, and as out of touch as I am with my Japanese heritage, it meant a lot to do something traditional… if not for our kids, at least for their grandparents.
We were really pushing our luck, too. It was risky enough subjecting our kids to a formal dressing and portrait sitting (and to be sure, we saw several kids that couldn’t take the long process and had meltdowns before they could finish). But when I realized that we somehow had all three of them in full costume at the same time, I prevailed upon the haggard photographer to attempt a shot with them together. Miraculously, it worked.
Enjoy the video! You can also watch or download it in a variety of formats via my videoblog.