- The history of Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture and Kimekomi dolls.
- The beginning of Kakinuma dolls
- The Working progress of Kimekomi dolls
- 20-30 people contribute their efforts & techniques on one doll.
- Kakinuma Toko’s continuing new challenges.
- The 5th of May is Boy’s Festival, to celebrate boys.
The history of Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture and Kimekomi dolls.
Kimekomi dolls are said to have started in Kyoto around 270 years ago between 1736 and 1741.
This was made over 1700 years ago.
The beginning of Kakinuma dolls
The CEO of Kakinuma Ningyo, Mr, Toshimitsu Kakinuma, is a traditional craftsman and took over the 2nd generation of the Kakinuma Toko brand.
I looked around the factory and interviewed the manufacturing staff about Kimekomi dolls.
※We previously introduced the workshop for making dolls at Mataro Doll Academy.
The Working progress of Kimekomi dolls
The CEO produces all the folding screens, bodies, costumes, and posing. He first thinks about whether or not he will follow tradition, or make completely new things.
The mold is made of clay and the materials composed of sawdust and gluten starch, are poured in. It takes two weeks to just dry it out.
These compressed bodies are subject to made only with traditional materials.
After taking the compressed body out of the mold, it is trimmed neatly to eliminate excess.
After that, white chalk is painted over it to enhance the strength of the body.
The craftsman carves the body with a chisel and puts starch along the sculpted lines where the clothes are tucked in. Mr. Toshimitsu came to Kyoto all the way from Saitama Prefecture to buy the Yuzen clothes for the dolls.
The craftsman specializes in making the doll’s face by drawing it and then attaching it to the body.
These dolls are waiting to be displayed on a tiered doll stand.
The traditional craft mark is attached to the dolls that are only made with pure materials.
20-30 people contribute their efforts & techniques on one doll.
There are many more craftsmen engaged in making dolls outside of the factory, which comes to about 20-30 people.
Dolls are not made by one person only, but by each different professional with a specialty for clothes, carving, faces, chairs, folding screens and drums.
I was under the impression that Hina dolls are expensive, but now I know the real value of them from witnessing all the procedures that go into one doll.
This Hina doll’s head was broken, but can be repaired at Kakinuma Ningyo.
The costume and hairs are also beautifully trimmed and brought back to the original.
Hina dolls can be displayed over generations.
Kakinuma Toko’s continuing new challenges.
This Hina doll is in a full court dress of traditional fashion.
It resembles an Emperor.
It’s a collaboration of Japan and Paris by using haute couture clothes.
It follows Japanese traditions, yet it is avant-garde.
This is the most intriguing doll to me, as a designer.
The faces are usually painted with fine-point brushes, but recently glassed-eyes are getting popular, according to him.
I think the unique part of Kakinuma Toko’s work is the mixture of tradition and modernity.
The 5th of May is Boy’s Festival, to celebrate boys.
In Japan, May 5th is the day to celebrate boys. March 3rd is the day to celebrate girls, called Hina Matsuri.
On Hina Matsuri, Hina dolls are displayed for celebrating girls, but on Boy’s Festival, families with boy’s display “Koi-nobori” (carp banner), “Kabuto” (helmet), and “Gogatsu dolls” to celebrate. I remember my family also displayed Kabuto at home when I was a kid.
These Gogatsu dolls on display at Kakinuma Ningyo on May 5th are available for purchase.
This is a samurai with a helmet. It’s a very noble samurai and made with the hope for boys to “grow stronger.”
Kids on a carp.
Koi is to wish for children’s advancement in life, because Koi can leap waterfalls.
This is the owner of the shop, Mr.Toshimitsu Kakinuma with a Kimekomi doll in his hands.
Do you have any customs or holidays to celebrate kids?
Why not give the gift of a Japanese Kimekomi doll to your precious children in hopes for their advancement in life?
Created in 1950 by 1st-generation doll maker Toko Kakinuma. Manufacturers of Edo Kimekomi hinakazari and boy’s festival dolls.
The current president, Toko Kakinuma (the second) has been recognized by METI (the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) and the governor of Tokyo as a master traditional craftsman.
After learning about the delicate inlays and special coloring techniques involved in the creation of kimekomi, Mr. Kakinuma continues to strive to improve his techniques and to keep the “Toko Brand” fresh by incorporating current trends and innovative techniques.