【Introduction to Traditional Crafts】 ~Suruga Hina Dolls (Shizuoka Prefecture)~

【Introduction to Traditional Crafts】 ~Suruga Hina Dolls (Shizuoka Prefecture)~


Suruga Hina dolls



【Production area of Suruga Hina dolls】

Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture and surrounding areas



【What is Suruga Hina dolls?】

Dolls produced in the area around Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture.

About 70% of Hina doll bodies produced in Japan are made in Suruga.


In the Chubu district of Shizuoka Prefecture, until the Meiji period, dolls were given to both men and women for the New Year’s holiday.

Later, as in other prefectures, the custom of giving Dairibina to girls was added, and Hinatenjin was given to boys.


In April 1994, it was designated as a traditional craft.



【Features of Suruga Hina dolls】

The biggest feature is the large size of the doll.

The reason for the size is because the rice straw used for the body of the doll is thick.

Rice was actively produced in the area around Shizuoka City.

Therefore, it is speculated that rice straw was easy to obtain.


One of the characteristics is that the costumes for the dolls are made separately for the upper body and the lower body.

By making it a separate production, it is possible to give volume to the entire costume, and it looks more luxurious when both the top and bottom are worn.

Hina dolls made in Kyoto are generally made in one piece.

On the other hand, Suruga products can be produced separately for upper and lower parts, so mass production is possible.

Today, Suruga holds about 70% of the nationwide market share for doll bodies.


It is said that the most technically demanding part of the process of making Hina dolls is the process of bending the hands of the doll.

The degree of bending of both hands reveals the personality of the maker so strongly that you can tell which craftsman did the bending work.



【History of Suruga Hina dolls】

Suruga Hina dolls are said to have originated from two Tenjin dolls (dolls in the shape of Michizane Sugawara).

The first is “Ren Tenjin”, which was created to represent Michizane Sugawara as a symbol of his faith.

This doll is made by kneading and solidifying pieces of paulownia wood and then coloring them with a brush.

The second one is “Hina Tenjin in costume”.

The oldest existing one is said to have been made in 1853, at the end of the Edo period.


Also during the Edo period, craftsmen from areas famous for Hina dolls, such as Kyoto and Edo, gathered in Suruga.

Each had its own technique and design used in the production of “Kyo-bina” and “Edo-bina”, but by combining the unique techniques of Suruga craftsmen, higher quality hina dolls were born one after another.


For example, the following dolls are now made as “festival dolls”.


・Tatetenjin doll


・Shinno Hina (Hina dolls paired with a lord and a princess)

・Takasago doll (an old couple’s doll, good luck)


In the latter half of the Edo period, the following dolls began to be produced.


・Tachibina Tenjin Shrine

・Dairi-bina (a pair of male and female Hina dolls made to resemble the Emperor and Empress)

・May Doll (Amulet to display at Boys’ Festival)


After that, three court ladies and five musicians joined, and a total of 15 gorgeous and gorgeous stage decorations appeared.



【Production process of Suruga Hina dolls】

①Straw body size cutting

The “straw body” is the body part of the doll and is unique to Suruga Hina dolls.

After the rice straw is tightly rolled, it is further wrapped with paper.

Dry the rolls and cut them into individual doll sizes and done.



For example, the chest is slightly angled, and the shape is adjusted by carving the wood with a knife so that it resembles the shape of a person.


③Assemble the torso

The arms of the doll are made by wrapping wood wool (mokumen, thread-like material made by cutting logs, also known as wood wool) with paper.

Also, make the “knees” and “legs sitting in a circle” together.

After completion, use a wire to attach it to the straw body, and the work is complete.


④Dress up

referring source:Shizuoka City


The costumes worn by Suruga Hina dolls are made of Nishijin fabric and Kiryu fabric.

It is said to be “Nishijin in the west, Kiryu in the east”, and both are famous for high-quality textiles.

The costumes of Hina dolls differ depending on the type, so the craftsman selects the pattern, color, etc. that suit each type.


After making a paper pattern out of Japanese paper or Western paper, glue it on and stick it to the back side of the fabric.

At this time, it is done with “fukuro-bari”, but the main reasons are as follows.


・When finished, it becomes more supple

・Easy to sew

・Easy to handle when dressing the completed costume


After the glue dries, cut the fabric along the paper pattern.

Once the fabric is sewn by hand or with a sewing machine, an adhesive called “glue” is used to dress the doll.


The types of costumes that can be worn are as follows.


≪Odairi-sama (lord)≫

・Sokutai (formal attire worn by court nobles)


・Hem, etc.


≪Hina dolls (princess)≫

・Hitoe(kimono without lining)

・Itsuginu(Five layers of kimono worn by women)

・Uchiginu (worn over five kimonos)

・Omoteginu (Worn over Itsuginu and Uchigoromo)

・Karaginu (a short robe worn on top of twelve-layered ceremonial kimono)

・Mo (a garment worn from the waist down)

・Hikigoshi (excessive part of the string on the waist of the skirt)



It was common to wear two or three layers of Hitoe, so all of them are called “junihitoe”.


⑤Arm folding (furitsuke)

As mentioned earlier, “furitsuke” is the work of bending the puppet’s hands.

Since the arms attached to the straw trunk in the process of making the body are straight, they are bent to adjust the shape.

In fact, the degree of curvature determines the overall impression of the doll, so this is a very important task.

The dairi-sama are male, and the hina dolls are female, so the atmosphere must be suitable for each gender.

In addition, since the wire cannot be bent again, it is a process in which failure is not allowed.

It is truly an opportunity to show off the craftsmen’s skills and individuality, and it is also a place where it is easy to make a difference.



There are two main things that are important in the head attachment process.


・Attach it firmly so that it does not wobble.

・Determining the position of the line of sight


There are two main types of line of sight: a straight line of sight and a slightly downward line of sight.

It may be easier to imagine the downward gaze if you can imagine the feeling of making eye contact with people who are sitting and looking at the Hina dolls.

Not only the emperor and hina dolls, but also the gonin-bayashi and the sannin-kanjo, etc., decide which direction to direct their eyes according to their roles.



Finally, the Suruga Hina dolls are complete after attaching the detailed costume tools.




・Ei (a feather-like accessory attached to the back of the crown)

・Koji (the protruding part at the rear of the top of the crown)

・Kougai (for fixing the crown to the hair)

・Shaku (a thin board held in the right hand)

・Kazatachi (ceremonial swords)

・ Hirao (belt for wearing a sword)


≪Hina dolls≫

・Saishi (hairpin used when doing hair)

・Hitaigushi (comb for the forehead)

・Hiogi (a wooden fan used in the imperial court)





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