Thursday, January 26, 2012

Will Miss #411 - anthropomorphizing dolls

A doll thrown into the pile of items to be burned at a shrine during New Year's holidays. 

When we're children, we often anthropomorphize our dolls and toys. The entire concept of Toy Story is based on the idea that we all once felt our toys were real and capable of feeling. That being said, as a culture, and particularly as adults, we don't view dolls as anything other than memories of bygone days and items to eventually be disposed of in the most convenient manner possible. In Japan, the sense that there is real life in dolls goes beyond that. There is a superstition that a spirit resides inside of them and there are shrines devoted to disposing of various types of dolls properly.

As someone who (as a child) used to feel guilty about not loving some of my dolls as often as others, I find myself empathizing with this thinking and find the way in which dolls are dealt with as an indication of how we all share common feelings about the smallest things across cultures. I will miss seeing the dolls in the trash piles at shrines and what it means.