Geneva Diaries #58

Japanese Doll Kabuki


Dear Roger,

Here is a print of my Japanese doll with the horned flaxen helmet, i finally found it and had to share it with you ( i just hope Im not resending).

The Tale of The Golden Helmet – Yaegakihime:

A kabuki play of a love story set in the midst of feuding rival clans, magical helmets and a princesses passion to save her beloved. In this tale princess Yaegakihime shines bright as she holds aloft the flaxen haired helmet and soars over the frozen lake to rescue her beloved, see below:

Love and hugs


Date: Thu, Apr 18, 2013

Subject: Japanese theatre: Yaegaki-Hime

Dear Purnima,

I love Japanese prints.  They reflect all that I admire about the Japanese culture.  However, those two figures in black at the bottom of the print look rather ominous.

More later about your trip(s).  I’m thrilled for you that you have been able to do some exciting and unusual traveling.




Dear Roger,

At this point, I have been working hard to give the story, my story, a story I have been destined to tell, and one I have mentioned many times over in my correspondence with you – The Story of the Knight and The (Siberian) Crane.

You are probably asking why Japanese theatre…well it all started when i recently came in possession of my maternal grandfathers gift of a Japanese doll holding aloft a kabuki mask (at least that is what I think, need to verify).I call it his gift because he died decades ago and I was the apple of his eye, his doll. His story was entwined with Japan, and the Japanese story as he strove to rebuild his life after migrating from Lahore to India, just as Japan rebuilt itself after the war. He visited Japan numerous times and in their ideas, philosophy and culture, I suspect he found a mirror of himself: a hardworking, creative individual who strove to embrace all the progressive ideas of technology and business and yet was a man steeped in tradition. For you see this Asian American story is about the flight of a long migratory bird, The Siberian Crane, one which is an integral part of Japanese culture and mythology. I sense my grandfathers hand in presenting this story as one made for the Japanese stage.

Roger, as I attempt to pull the threads of this story together, I would appreciate your support, guidance and advice, for this is an American story, a story for and of my children, the story of a journey, a journey which culminates in your shores, our shores.

Hope to hear from you soon.



PS: Keep following as the Tales from The Shogunate unravel in 21st Century California


Dear Purnima,

Being an expert on neither Japanese masks nor Japanese theatre, I had to resort to the internet to glean the following concerning horned masks in Noh theatre:

“A devil-like, horned mask, for example, is worn by an actor playing Hannya, the jealous, revengeful demon who was once a beautiful woman.”

Sounds indeed like an interesting theme for your story, and it’s really fascinating that you were able to save this doll and its mask from the dumpster.

More later when I’ve had time to digest your questions about “The Merchant of Venice.”

All my best,


Dear Roger,

After receiving your email, I scanned the Internet for information and images on Hannya and found that it did not quite fit the horned headdress upheld by my Japanese doll with it’s golden curved horns and flaxen locks. In fact, the closest image seemed to be that of a samurai mask which sports the same forked horned mask. Do check out the images of samurai warriors taken at The National Gallery in Washington DC below:

However, I  loved the idea of stumbling upon a figurine upholding a horned mask that represents Hannya, a jealous revengeful spirit who was once a beautiful woman, especially since the most popular re-enaction of Hannya is  found in the Japanese Noh play Aoi No Ue which is based on an  episode from the Tale of Genji, one of my favorite books. See Tale of Genji Below:

But somehow I sense that the Japanese figurine is meant to represent me, and is not one embracing the spirit of Hannya, and extracting revenge, but upholding a samurai mask and embracing the spirit of a war weary but courageous samurai ready to embark upon the next adventure.

What do you think a Samurai or a Spirit? 

I lean towards brave princess Yaegakihime who flies over a frozen lake to save her beloved.

See pic of my doll below with the flaxen horned headdress:–unknown



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