||These dolls are
play dolls. They have a neck joint and fitted, bent arms and legs, and
often have "cryers" in their tummies; their clothes come off. This style
of doll originated in the West around 1920 and was immediately adapted
for export in Japan, though it was not until the 1930s that dollmakers
began thinking of making ones that look Japanese for the home market. Note
that the boys are always dressed in cool colors, the girls in orange or
Dolls like these,
even when made for export, convey the Japanese sense of spirituality in
children. In his 1955 book, Tokebei Yamada
refers to them as "Yamato ningyo," or "Truly Japanese dolls."
These babies are haihai, tiny
crawling babies not even an inch high. They are a classic development of
the gosho doll, but this pose is also adapted in some larger baby dolls
with 5-piece bodies, like the ones above.
To the right are three cloth dolls
made in the style of the ancient hoko protective doll. All are fairly
new, and the small ones are obviously also haihai dolls, little crawlers.
The bodies are made by sewing a rectangle of cloth to make the four limbs,
with a seam up the front for the tummy, and then adding the head and bib.
don't know much about this little guy--except that he takes a good picture.
His hair is painted and his costume evokes a boy's festival, with auspicious
armor and animals. He may be an older example of the bent-leg babies in
the first picture, or just an unusual example.
This guy is a Japanese doll made for sale
in Japan. Like the haihai dolls, he is not wearing much, just a
bib and jacket. He is meant to be dressed by the new owner. Although he
does not seem to be very old (maybe from the 1970s?) he wears a fancy hairstyle,
as if he were a samurai child two hundred years ago.
Two izumeko dolls, or babies
in baskets. These represent babies tucked up by their parents to be transported
safely to a farm worksite. Notice the toys tied to the blanket. Both little
boys have hairstyles that evoke the shaven patterns of the 18th and 19th
I include this pair because someone may
be looking for them! Dolls like these, ranging from about 4" to about 10",
with bisque heads and jointed composition bodies, were made in the 1920s
and 1930s in Japan. Usually you find them dressed as Chinese children,
as here, but sometimes there is one in a Japanese kimono or dressed as
a Western baby. They were still being sold in the 1950s.