The earliest Japanese dolls in their form were those in ancient rituals. Through the development period, dolls gradually turn into folk toys.
The Edo period (17-19 century) was the golden age of Japanese dolls, very well-designed dolls, the most famous are Edo dolls, lchimatsu dolls with beautiful faces and glass eyes . Nowadays, Japanese dolls have diversified development such as: lchimatsu dolls, Hakota dolls, clay dolls, dolls simulating characters in Noh or Kabuki plays, etc.
For Japanese people, playing dolls is like enjoying tea, dolls are not only for decoration, but also for being a confidant friend, showing the owner’s affection. Therefore, the doll maker must be able to blow soul into the doll, so that it can contain traditional cultural capital. Therefore, making dolls in Japan is raised to the level of folk art.
To complete a doll, there are usually 20-30 talented craftsmen who are in charge of different stages such as doll head, hair, facial drawing, body, hands, kimono, glass eyes, etc. The time it takes to complete a doll is from months to years. The beautiful dolls are heralds that help the world understand and appreciate the traditional cultural values of this country.
Types of traditional dolls in Japan:
Kokeshi dolls: this is one of the most famous dolls in the land of mourning. Kokeshi dolls include a variety of types, with 11 different types of Kokeshi available to date. Kokeshi includes many shapes, from the shapes of girls to boys and some other shapes such as fairy characters. Many people say that if children play with this doll they will say that protect the house from fire.
Hina doll: This is the doll used in Hinamatsuri. This is the type of doll representing girls.
Teru teru bozu: This is a doll that dates back to the Edo period, and children use it to pray for rain or to pray for sunshine.
Gogatsu doll: a doll for boys. A boy’s Gogatsu doll modeled after Japanese historical figures.
Daruma doll: a doll modeled after Bodhidharma. This doll is a kind of lucky charm for the Japanese people.
Gosho doll: is a doll representing children. These dolls emulate naked boys, and small pieces of clothing.
Musha doll: this is also a doll for boys. This type of doll is usually on display during the boy’s day.
Washi Ningyo doll: this is a doll made of washi paper.
Karakuri doll: half doll, half robot. Often used in tea parties.
Shikishi Ningyo doll: this doll is made from colored cardboard. This doll is crafted quite sophisticatedly and thickly.
Anesama Ningyo doll: this doll is made with a wig, paper dress and no face painting.
Shiori Ningyo doll: this doll is used to bookmark a book page.
Kimekomi doll: made from willow wood and decorated with small pieces of clothing.
Okiagari Koboshi doll: This doll is made from tissue paper. It is considered the thing that brings good luck
Bunraku doll: This type of puppet (or doll) is mainly used in modern theater productions.
Hakata doll: this is the most elaborate doll in Japan. The main image for the artists to do is the young women. Ichimatsu doll: This doll has a special honor, symbolizing the friendship between Japan and America. This doll represents boys or girls. This doll is also called the Friendship Doll.