The Japan Society
Education Events & Special Programmes

The Emperor and Empress of Japan visit the United Kingdom at the end of June 2024 at the invitation of King Charles. To celebrate this special occasion, The Japan Society invites children to design a UK-Japan costume for a set of traditional emperor and empress hina dolls.

Costume for Emperor and Empress dolls | Contest Guidelines  | Activity Pack


About Emperor and Empress Dolls

Decorative hina dolls are displayed during The Doll's Festival in Japan each March. The dolls represent members of the court of Japan around a thousand years ago, during the Heian era. The emperor and empress dolls - the most important - always sit at the top of the display, dressed in beautiful and elaborate costumes just like the real Emperor and Empress would have worn in the past. Nowadays, the Emperor and Empress do not usually dress this way, with the exception of very special or formal occasions such as for their wedding photo above.

For this contest, we want you to design a UK-Japan costume for the traditional emperor and empress hina dolls to celebrate the long friendship between our two countries.

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Contest Guidelines

Design a UK-Japan costume for the traditional emperor and empress hina dolls! We're looking for designs which celebrate the friendship between the UK and Japan and look beautiful. 

Your design should include elements which represent both Japan and the UK and incorporate designs such as nature patterns, symbolic colours, animals, or emblems.

Example of a UK-Japan Hina Doll Costume



How to Enter the Design Contest 

  • Download the entry form and template
  • Design should have elements representing both Japan and the UK and incorporate at least one of the following: nature patterns, symbolic colours, animals, emblems.
  • Take a picture or scan a copy of your entry and email to* 
  • Anyone is welcome to send us their design, but entrants must be 16 or under and reside in the UK to be eligible to win a prize.
  • Winners will be selected from the different age categories and will be notified by email after the closing date** 
  • By entering the contest, participants agree to their design being shared on our website and/or social media (personal information will not be shared)

Deadline for entries: Sunday 28 July 2024

*Please note that we cannot accept posted entries; only entries sent by email will be entered into the competition. 
** Participants will be automatically entered into the correct age category (7 and under, 9-11, or 12-16)


This contest is generously sponsored by the Japan Centre. The lucky winner in each age category will receive a £20 gift voucher or credit to spend on goodies of their choice at the Japan Centre shop. Other prizes include small goodies such as origami paper set and children story books from The Japan Society.

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The Emperor and Imperial Family - Activity Pack

In Japan, the monarch and head of state is the emperor. Together, the Emperor and Empress are the head of the imperial family, whose symbol is the chrysanthemum flower. Did you know that the Japanese monarchy is one of the oldest in the world?

Downloadn our activity pack to learn more about the Emperor of Japan and the imperial family. The entry form to our design contest is included in the pack! Imperial Family Activity Pack

Also check out our Imperial Visit Resource Page for more resources about Japan and other ways to celebrate the Emperor and Empress's visi ot the UK this June! 

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