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Dressed Dolls

Dressed Dolls

Traditional dolls wearing classic dress are called Dressed Dolls which origin can be traced back to a custom in the Edo period (1603-1868 A.D.). When girls of the Samurai class got married, their parents gave them the Dressed Dolls as a ‘substitute’ that would consume possible misfortunes on behalf of the girls. For this reason, the dolls were crafted as women of high ranks. As the crafting techniques evolved with time, the dolls today have come to be enjoyed by all people. Particular among them is the doll modeling a Japanese traditional dancer called Oyama Doll named after Jirosaburo Oyama, a renowned doll maker in the Edo period.

Hina Dolls

Hina Dolls

Hina Dolls are traditionally displayed on March 3rd, the Girls’ Day held to wish for healthy growth and happiness of girls. In the Heian period (794-1192 A.D.), people made dolls with paper or grass, imbue them with misfortunes and bad luck they might suffer from, and then release them to rivers or the sea as their bodily substitutes. Separate from that, there were also paper dolls called Hina Dolls which aristocratic girls played with. With time, the customs of Hina dolls that were floated on water and those that girls played with were integrated to give birth to paper dolls and standing earthen dolls that led way to the Hina Dolls of today.

May Dolls

May Dolls

May 5th is a day to celebrate growth and health of boys. As it coincides with the change of seasons, people had the custom to pick herbs and place iris on a gate to fend off evil and illnesses. From the Edo period, this has become a custom among the Samurai class to wish for the family’s prosperity and for boys, who are destined to succeed the household, to grow up without any setbacks. May Dolls came to be made as a symbol of such wishes.

Eto Dolls

Eto Dolls

Introduced from China in the period of Yin, an ancient dynasty that reigned around the 17th century B.C., to Japan, Eto is a cycle of sixty years that consists of twelve signs relating to animals and ten elements. Originating in China and spreading to Japan, Vietnam, Russia, and Eastern Europe, it was used in the calendar, as well as to indicate angles, time, and directions. When applied to the calendar, each year has one of the twelve signs of animals. Thus the calendar has a twelve-year cycle. The order of years is; rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and boar. Each year, Japanese people place an Eto Doll of the animal of the year. They believe that the Eto Dolls absorb their misfortunes during that year.

Lucky Dolls

Lucky Dolls

Lucky Cat
Lucky Cat is a cat-shaped charm with its forefoot beckoning something. The ones beckoning with the right foot is believed to attract wealth, and the ones beckoning with the left foot people or customers. The black ones protect people from evil and bring safety to the family. The white ones bring good fortune. It is also believed that the red ones protect people from diseases such as measles or smallpox. In recent years, there are lucky cats of various colors including white, black, red and more. The pink ones attract love, and the blue ones academic achievement or traffic safety.

The Owl
The owl in Japanese is Fukurou which can be phonetically written with various combinations of Chinese characters with such meanings as ‘happiness-coming-man,’ ‘no-suffering,’ ‘no-pain-growing old,’ and ‘happy basket.’ Thus the owl dolls are loved as charms for ‘bringing happiness’ and leaving you ‘without trouble.’ As owls are nocturnal and see well in the dark, they are believed to be guardians of families, hence owl dolls are often placed at the entrance of Japanese houses.

Seven Fortune Gods
Seven Gods are the seven gods that bring good luck. They are representative of gods and holy persons in Buddhism, Shintoism and Taoism and are often drawn riding in a treasure ship. They became widely known in the Muromachi Period (1338-1573).Especially, they become popular for people in Kyoto, and people prayed them. These days, you can see seven gods at some temples and shrines, people pray for long life and family well- being, and some merchants wish for their business success, display seven gods.
Ebisu
He’s wearing ancient hat and holding a fishing rod and red Sea Bream. He is god of sea, fisher or merchants.
Daikokuten
His appearance is wearing hood, having a big white bag and lucky mallet. We can see that he’s sitting on straw ricebags. So we believe that he is god of food ,wealth, commerce and trade.
Bisyamonten
The special feature of god is wearing armor, holding spear in his right hand and orb on his left hand. He is god of warriors. Also, he call “Tamonten” because he is intelligent person. It’s said that the god protect treasures.
Benzaiten
She is only god of women in seven gods which wearing a robe of feathers, have a biwa(Japanese instrument). It is said that she supply water for fields of rice and other cropsfarmsthe fields in Sinto. She has talent about music and talking so she is god of knowledge, art and beauty, especially music.
Fukurokujyu
The god is very old age. In this reason, it is said that he give us happiness, wealth and longevity.
Jyurojin
The god has the elixir of life which people don’t become old and get eternal life so he is god of longevity.
Hotei
The special feature of god is well‐rounded body and having big white bag. Therefore, he is the fat and happy god of abundance and good health.

Ofuku-san
Ofukusan is the doll which symbol Japanese women. It has been displayed in Japan. We also call it “Otafuku” or “Okame”. We believe that it’s inviting success of business and improve accomplishments. We can feel that elegant from eye brow, affection from lower eyelid, vitality from the corners of the eyes, conformable from nose, prettiness from dimple, and an abundance of happiness from its expression.

Daruma
Daruma is Japanese doll named after Dharma, the Chinese Buddhist priest who trip from India to China in the 6th century and establish Zen. It’s said that he lost his hands and legs in order to sat cross-legged meditation for many years. It has been a symbol of patience because he meditated for so many years in a cave. The doll, one of oldest Japanese toy is usually pained red expect for face. The doll’s bottom part is heavy; that way the daruma can teeter back to a standing position even when people try to knock it down.Some dolls don’t have eyes because we have a custom that we paints one eye on the doll to pray for good luck and other eye is painted in when our wish comes ture. These days, Japanese politicians display it to win the election and many people also display it.

Kokeshi Dolls

Kokeshi Dolls

Kokeshi were invented around AD 1850 as a toy for kids in Tohoku area, north and east part of Japan. They were made from Mizuki which is Japanese unique wood. Kokeshi craftsmen started to make them using much red color because red color was believed to protect children from disease.

Farmers often stayed in hot springs, cured their body and refreshed. It was called “Touji”. They bought Kokeshi as souvenir. Since them craftsmen’s skills to make grains and paint was so developed that Kokeshi became “ornamental” dolls now. Nowadays people buy them for just their visual pleasure.

There are Kokeshi festivals in Fukushinma city in April and in Shiraishi city in September. All Japan Kokeshi doll contest is held in Miyagi during 3 -5 May every year. The craftsman who makes the most excellent one will wins Prime Minister prize.

Kokeshi can be categorized into two groups. One is traditional and another is modern. Traditional Kokeshi have a slender neck because it is easy for children to hold when they play with them. Modern Kokeshi have round bodies and cute faces.

Traditional kokeshi
Kokeshi is not old craftwork, was invented around 150 years ago. It was sold for children's toy at souvenir shops near hot springs in Tofoku area in those days. It was made by craftsperson who lived near hot spring and was making wooden bowls and trays. The length is less than 20cm. 5-6 years old children wear put it on kimono. The craftsperson made good size and weight for children in order to carry it on their back and walk together. It was very kind and delicate works.The body and head is round because they avoid child's injury from it when they fall down. Having kokeshi is great pleasure for children in Tofoku area because they have few toys. That's why it spread gradually to all city of Tofoku for children's toy. The bottom of kokeshi was cut by handsaw in early days so it's rare what it stand up completely. It was poor quality, big head, the body was thin, and the bottom is rough. It has been developed in these days due to the effort of craftsperson and passion of devotee. It is not only toy for children but also hobby of wooden doll for adult. The traditional kokeshi has been made in Tofoku area still now, especially, Yajiro, Naruko, Tougatta in Miyagi, Tsuchiyu in Fukushima, and Kijiyama in Akita.

Modern kokeshi
After the postwar, Japanese economy and society went well, people started to travel. The kokeshi draw an attention at last. When people spent the days that they lose their hope, it appeared gorgeously, attracted many people, and got many fans. However, it was no substance in kokeshi, just only commercial product as visual since it was influenced of this period when people produced anything that it was good selling. After this period, people started to settle down wealthy, it broke with convention from old one and Modern kokeshi was born as new ornament in the room. The exhibition was sometimes held in department stores. People ask many questions about Modern kokeshi because they haven't had knowledge yet. Some people was surprised because they don't think it's kokeshi but they certainly had a good impression, came to next exhibition again and ordered some kokeshis. On the other hand, some enthusiastic people for traditional koekshi didn't accept changing kokeshi, and say that it is not kokeshi. The craftsperson who make Modern kokeshi based on the tradition respectfully but also they maximized traditional skill and tried to create new beauty and what they'd like to express. Making Modern kokeshi have been going smoothly. They ship it out oversea. It catch a great deal of attention as one of folk handcrafts in Japan. The kokeshi contest in Japan is held by JAF every spring. The craftsperson submit ambitious work that we know the result of their struggle to make.

Commercial kokeshi
Odawara is famous city for turned toys. Craftsperson in Odawara is professional. They have many wisdoms that they are second to none in same industry because they have been produced turned toys since Edo period. Also, wholesale and distribution systems were developed.
Produced new kokeshi form Dango kokeshi
During postwar, when the economy was worst, craftsperson also didn’t have no hope in the future as with everyone in Japan. Although Dango kokeshi was mysterious, the all dolls was sold out quickly when merchant went on business and sold it in Hakone because goods of every description were in short supply. Furthermore, they could get many order. They had purchased from factory and sold it for 3 months. It is say that merchants and customers didn’t use formal name “Dango koekshi” that we feel strange name. They called it “That strange one” to purchase and sale. The merchant in Odawara that sold red items before heard good reputation of the doll, they went to its factory soon in Togatta hot spring of Miyagi where
produced kokeshi. We don’t know how they promise with the manufacturer. The 2nd floor of Maruishi-shoji that is toy manufacturer in Togatta was not allowed to enter the factory by unauthorized person. After that, they produced many new kokeshis form the manufacturer and continued to ship them. Moreover, some people got ideas form Dango kokeshi and produced new one. Many new look kokeshi was sold in Hakone. Finally, the markets of new kokeshi spread from Kansai area to Kyusyu area.
Produced commercial kokeshi from Odawara
That’s why commercial kokeshi became popular in order to get ideas from Dango kokeshi. In fact, in Odawara, they found, improved it and rose its reputation by Odawara merchants. Therefore, Odawara merchants had plenty of wisdoms and their efforts for this industry. It’s no exaggeration to say that commercial kokeshi was created by craftsperson in Odawara who have sophisticated skill. All most of remarkable kokeshis were made in Odawara. The amount of kokeshi type that they were making are more 10 million from 1948 to 1969. We know the craftsperson have trouble selling kokeshi for a long time since they started to sell them because the remains kokeshi that they are selling still now have special skill or become good fortune. Compared to before, what the subject is a low level customs and kokeshi that have an intricate piece of works turn off the customers except for the kokeshi that have special skill and become good fortune according to look trend in sales. The customer desire to new type of kokeshi in strong local character instead of kokeshi that is not good sell. Therefore, it’s say that many people need local refreshing and beauty because of Modern diseases. It’s effected by Modern kokeshi. The craftsperson are making tiny modern kokeshis from their factories.
They are made in Yonezawa that has local kokeshi. However, the amount of sales is more than 1 billion. Commercial kokeshi cannot compare with Modern and traditional one. In this reason, we can’t help what some people image typical kokeshi is like a Commercial kokeshi. The amount of production might be 1st Odawara, 2nd Maehashi, 3rd Yonezawa, 4th Shiroishi where is included Togattuta that was made Dango kokeshi. The number of craftsperson who make kokeshi is proportionate to amount of production.
3Bu Kokeshi
3Bu kokeshi was made by Noboru Yamanaka. The kokeshi is tiny one like a grain of rice. The size is around 9.09cm.The bottom of 3bu kokeshi is pricked with small needle. The craftsperson bring a small needle and paint it. There are couples of kokeshi and seven gods. Some people write letters on a grain of rice but it is more difficult than writing letters because they paint the material that is a circle on long and thin stick that is made of wood.
The worth of Commercial kokeshi
Amount of production and sale for Commercial kokeshi have indicated great jobs since they started selling it. On that point, we cannot compare traditional and Modern kokeshi with Commercial one except for the character’s problem of Kokehi. For instance, cultural city, suburb of Nerima in Tokyo, out of 100 houses, there are 82 houses that they have Commercial kokeshi, 6 houses that they have Modern Kokeshi, and No traditional kokeshi in there. The 82 houses in Nerima that they have Commercial kokeshi is ordinary family. The person who buy kokeshi is husbands, wives, and children like a students. All family enjoy kokeshi for common property. So to say, Kokeshi live together with their families. Furthermore, Commercial kokeshi have the worth because people buy it usually without trends.
The beauty of a rhyme “Kokeshi”
The rhyme of word might be not only affected strongly the beautiful and lovely name of kokeshi but also Making the artlessness sharp like a human that is made of a circle and cylinder is good for national character in Japan. For example, people in Ukraine cannot forgot making art works for farmer during Rossiyskaya Imperiya period so they are making it still now. If we were not making kokeshi still now, art of kokeshi wouldn’t develop. In any case, Japanese people like kokeshi. Every people like kokeshi regardless of male or female, wife or husband, daughter or son. It is no exaggeration to say that Japanese people have a deep affection for kokeshi. The reason that people like Commercial kokeshi might be what we feel social background, history, countryside, customs, and mountain and rivers that we didn’t forget. Moreover, it doesn’t have subject of poetic justice for education.

Other Dolls

Other Dolls

Maiko
Geisko and Maiko are professional entertainers who attend guests during meals, banquets and other occasions. They are trained in various traditional Japanese arts, such as dance and music, as well as in the art of communication. Their role is to make guests feel at ease with conversation, drinking games and dance performances. We can find them Gion, Gion Higashi, Miyagawacho, Pontocho, Kamishichiken. We call “Maiko” who is under 20 years old. They live in Okiya, special houses. They are taught communication and hospitality skills and various traditional Japanese arts, and then they will go on to become a maiko after an introductory training and examination. Eventually, they become a geiko a few years later.

Monk
Buddhist monks is the person who become a priest. Usually, they are training to suffer hardship such as they chant Buddhist sutra and pray, sit in Zen meditation, go about asking for alms, travel for long way on foot.

Gosyo Doll
Gosyo doll is the doll which was art and crafts made in Kyoto. Mostly, the doll express infant or baby which has big head, white skin, and chubby body. We also called it “shiragiku doll”, “ Toudai doll”, and “Izuzo doll” from its appearance.

Saga Mask
Dainenbutsu-Kyogen has been held at Sagasyakado in Kyoto. Dainenbustu-Kyogen is traditional play in Japan. Saga mask is imitated real mask of Dainenbustu-Kyogen. It’s been sold for talisman near temples since Edo period.

Charms

Charms

The charming mobile phone straps and keyrings which easily match well with both the Western and Japanese clothes have been very popular as souvenirsin Kyoto.

Kimono and accessories

Kimono and accessories

You can find many variety goods including momey pouches and hairpins which have been very popular especially among female custmers.

Seasonal

Seasonal

There are also lined up cute and elegant seasonal items. Let's try to choose the items matching the each season and your interior.

Table Wares

Table Wares

Kimura Ohshido select the tablewares which seem to be enjoyed the people who likes Japanese and Kyoto taste. Can you find your favorate one?

Others

Others

In addition to the dolls and variety goods above you can find many fine products. Maiko Dolls, miniatures of big cart of Gion Festival, cushions and glass case for dolls and so on.

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