Masumi Hiraga Jackson Collection
The Masumi Hiraga Jackson Collection is a significant group of over 108 cultural items which represent acts of cultural maintenance as it relates to the migration experience. The collection includes brought objects and objects which reflect Masumi's continued practices of various cultural traditions once in Australia, including Shimotsuke doll making, Japanese tea ceremony and Noh theatre.
Born in 1935, Masumi Hiraga grew up in Nirasaki in Yamanashi Prefecture, 100km west of Tokyo, Japan. When she was a teenager Masumi began learning several Japanese cultural traditions: Ikebana (flower arranging), Noh theatre (classical Japanese musical drama), Japanese tea ceremony and Shimotsuke paper doll making. In 1977 Masumi was teaching at a Tokyo University when she met her future husband, an Australian lecturer from RMIT. The couple began corresponding and Masumi visited Australia twice, holding demonstrations of Ikebana, Nohtheatre and tea ceremony at numerous institutes and schools during her visits. In 1984 Masumi moved to Australia and married her husband, who passed away suddenlyin 1987. Following her husband's death Masumi found herself alone but immersed herself in the various Japanese cultural traditions she had been learning since the 1950s. Masumi decided to remain in Australia, although she returns to Japan every year to see her family, undertake Ikebana lessons, practise her Noh performance and to purchase materials for doll-making. The objects in the collection represent Masumi's desire to maintain her cultural heritage and extend the practice of her cultural traditions. Several of the kimonos were woven and made by Masumi's mother and sisters, making them mementos of family as well as cultural artefacts. The tea-making items represent Masumi's desire to extend thetradition ofJapanese tea-making in Melbourne which was rarely practised when she first arrived in the 1980s. The Noh theatre objects and Shimotsuke paper dolls explore how Masumi has maintained and passed on her various cultural practices in a new environment. Masumi teaches Ikebana at her home in Melbourne and has displayed her Shimotsuke dolls frequently.
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Victoria, Australia; Japan