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Dolls have been manufactured since the early days of Japanese culture. Today, there exist various types of Japanese dolls. The following is a description of only a few of the most famous ones:

Left to right: Daruma, Kokeshi and Hakata Doll

Daruma dolls are spherical dolls with a red painted body and a white face, but without pupils. They represent the Zen monk Bodhidharma. It is the custom to paint one of the doll's pupils in the beginning of a new year, make a wish and paint in the second pupil, if the wish comes true.

Kokeshi dolls are simply shaped, wooden dolls from Northern Honshu, which originated as souvenirs distributed at hot spring resorts during the Edo Period. Kokeshi dolls have neither arms nor legs, but a large head and a cylindrical body.

Hakata dolls are clay dolls manufactured in Fukuoka Prefecture on Kyushu. They are worked out in great detail and painted beautifully.

Hina Dolls

Various dolls are used during festivals. Among them are hina dolls, which are displayed during the girl's festival and samurai dolls, which are displayed during the boy's festival.

Bunraku is a traditional Japanese puppet theater. Please visit our bunraku page for more details.

Page last updated: December 5, 2004