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About Tsuchinohana

The Hakata Doll workshop Tsuchinohana has been creating traditional dolls for over 40 years.
Our dolls feature intricate craftsmanship and dazzling colors, with attention paid to the smallest coloring details.
From beautiful women to warriors, children, clowns, animals and more, we hope you’ll enjoy browsing all the figures in our gallery.

Artifact Information

Artifact NameHakata Dolls : Ceramic dolls
History Hakata Dolls refer to dolls created in the Hakata region of Fukuoka Prefecture.
In the year 1600, when Nagamasa Kuroda became the lord of nearby Chikuzen Province, numerous artisans gathered in the area, and the bisque fired dolls these artisans made became the foundation for the traditional craft we know today.
Around the turn of the 19th century, the great craftsmen of the time began holding exhibitions of their work, which spread awareness of the craft to the rest of the country.
Then, when Japan re-opened its doors to the world in 1868, the dolls began to be featured as symbols of the country in international expositions in places such as Paris, where they became known by the name “Hakata Dolls.” Even now, on the street corners of Hakata you can feel the presence of the master dollmakers, with, reliefs, events, and facilities dedicated to them.
The more one learns about the history and background of these dolls, the more these Hakata creators’ passion comes through.

The Traditional Craftsman Profile

Craftsman Name
Craftsman Masaji KajiokaShoji Kajiwara
Career
1970
Graduated from Seinan Gakuin High School and apprenticed himself to Hiroo Honda.
1978
Went independent and joined Hakata-Hakuchokai.
1993
Joined the board of directors at the Hakata Doll Union.
1994
Toured the historic ruins and temples of Buddhism in India.
1995
Toured the old capital of China and Buddhist ruins in Dunhuang.
1996
Designated a traditional craftsman.
1997
Toured Romance of the Three Kingdoms sites in Chengdu, China.
Assumed chairmanship of the Hakata Doll Union Youth Group.
2008
Received award of merit from Fukuoka Prefecture Traditional Craftsmen’s Union.
Assumed vice chairmanship of Hakata Doll Merchants Cooperative Union.
2011
Awarded the Fukuoka Prefectural Governor’s award for artistic excellence.
2014
Received award from the Kyushu Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry.
2015
Acknowledge a “Hakata Meister” by Fukuoka City.
* A Hakata Meister is a craftsman with superlative skill in the creation of traditional Fukuoka Prefecture goods, who aggressively pursues the dissemination of his craft to the citizens.
Introduction Hakata Dolls are a nationally designated traditional craft with a 400 year history behind them, beloved by enthusiasts all around the world for their portrayal of the myths, music, and kabuki traditions they draw from. Shoji Kajiwara is one heir to this tradition.
As a nationally designated traditional craftsman, he has devoted himself to the construction of Hakata Dolls for over 40 years.
Kajiwara has engaged in the creation of many kinds of dolls, including beautiful women, warriors, children, clowns, and animals, while keeping traditions alive.
He has received many awards, including the Prime Minister’s Award twice, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Award six times, and has been widely acknowledged as the representative craftsman when it comes to Hakata Dolls.

Manufacturing Method

1. Creating the model
作業風景 Careful regulation of moisture is required during this process, as dryness and heat can harden the clay during crafting.
2. Hollowing out
作業風景 Once the model is mostly finished, it’s cut open and hollowed out.
*Holes are necessary to keep the model from breaking when the air inside expands during firing.
3. Reaffixing
Minor finishing touches are placed on the hollowed out portion, and the cut portion reaffixed with slip (clay dissolved in water).
4. Drying
作業風景 The finished product is allowed to dry thoroughly.
*The product is at its most fragile at this time, and requires great care in its handling.
5. Firing
作業風景 The product is fired at temperatures of 1000 degrees.
6. Filing
The surface is filed to grant it a smooth finish.
*It is important for filing to emphasize the work’s texture and feeling of solidity.
7. Coloring
作業風景 Paints used in Japanese paintings, acrylic paints, gold leaf, gold paint, lacquer, and implements are used, and the artisan puts the most concentration into the use of colors into the face of the doll, from which its life comes from.
8. Mold making
作業風景 If copies of a doll are to be made, then a mold for the model is cast after the model’s completion.
Multiple molds of different portions are required to properly release the model.

*The original model must be created with this process in mind.

The feature of Hakata Dolls

Hakata Dolls are made from clay specially designed to be fired in a kiln.
It resembles the clay used for ceramics, but it is much finer, allowing it to better represent the skin and other features necessary for dolls.
The smooth texture that this grants is a special trademark of Hakata Dolls.
Control of moisture and temperature is necessary to keep the clay at the appropriate level of softness or hardness.
Thus, even the maintenance of the clay is a technique that requires years of finely honed experience.
Depending on the creator and the work, the process of adding and shaving away clay could last for several months.

Hair by hair

The traditional method of adding hair to Hakata Dolls is a time-consuming process.
A brush is split, allowing just a few hairs to be drawn on a time.
This painstaking reproduction, hair by hair, allows for the creation of black hair that flows as beautifully as the real thing.

Location & Address

■ 土の華 : Tsuchinohana

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Postal code
811-1112
Address
617-4 Okasagi Sawara-ku Fukuoka
Homepage
http://www.tsuchinohana.jp/index.html
Business hours
9:00 - 18:00
Holidays
7 days a week