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Japanese Doll

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 6:29:22 PM Asia/Tokyo

日本人形 Nihon Ningyo (Japanese traditional costume doll)

Nihon Ningyo is a generic name for the Japanese traditional dolls that wear Japanese traditional cloths (Kimono) and put her hair up with Japanese traditional hair style (Nihon-Gami). Generally speaking, a name of Nihon Ningyo is used for Isho Ningyo or Ichimatsu Ningyo. The following dolls are also included in Nihon Ningyo : Kimekomi Ningyo, Hakata Ningyo, Kokeshi, Gosho Ningyo, Nara Ningyo, Odai Ningyo, etc.
There are Nihon Ningyo as a crafts, so decorated as an ornament in home. On the other hand, there are also dolls of high artistic value.
When Ichimatsu Ningyo was presented to U.S.A. as a doll ambassador in 1927, the explanation of “Nihon Ningyo” was attached.
Nihon Ningyo is made in mainly Tokyo and Kyoto by many craftsmen that handle each works, for example, making the head, making the arms and legs, making Kimono, etc.


衣装人形 Isho Ningyo (Japanese traditional dress-up doll)

Isho Ningyo means a doll wearing the cloths, that is to say, Japanese traditional cloths Kimono. It is made with the various cloths, so we can find the position or occupation. For example, “Maiko (Apprentice geisha)”, “Fuji-Musume (Girl from one of Japanese traditional dances), “Machi-Musume (Daughter of merchant family in Edo period)”, “Guke-Musume (Daughter of Samurai family in Edo period)”, “Himegimi (Princess)”, etc.


市松人形 Ichimatsu Ningyo (One of Japanese traditional dress-up doll)

Ichimatsu Ningyo is one of Japanese traditional dress-up doll. It is known familiarly as “Ichima-san” in Kyoto-Osaka area. It is also called Azuma (East = Tokyo) Ningyo, Kyo Ningyo. And, Yamato Ningyo is a generic name for these dress-up dolls. The doll makers brought out a name “Yamato Ningyo” because the name of these dolls was different in each area.


おやま人形 Oyama Ningyo (One of Japanese traditional dress-up doll)

Oyama Ningyo is a generic name for female dress-up dolls. Many dolls wear the costume of Japanese traditional dance such as “Fuji Musume”, “Shiokumi”, etc. It is called Oyama Ningyo in tribute to a doll artist, OYAMA Jirosaburo. It is made by many craftsmen that handle each works, for example, making the head, making the arms and legs, making Kimono, etc.


能人形 Noh Ningyo (Doll taken a subject from Noh play)

Noh Ningyo is taken a subject from Noh play. A word of “Noh” was came from the Sino-Japanese (Japanese from China) for “skill” or “Talent”. It is a major form of classical Japanese musical drama that has been performed since 13th century. Many characters are masked, with men playing male and female roles.
Noh Ningyo represents a dancing scene from a Noh pray, for example, “Hagoromo”, “Okina”, “Shojo”, etc. It is for decoration.


木目込人形 Kimekomi Ningyo (One of Japanese traditional costume doll)

Kimekomi Ningyo is a wooden doll with Japanese costumes made from cloth with the edges tucked into grooves in the wood. The movement “cloth with the edges tucked into grooves in the wood” is expressed “Kimekomu (verb) in Japanese. It is said that a person served in Kamigamo shinto shrine in Kyoto stated to produce it. There are Kimekomi Ningyo that represents humans such as Hina Ningyo, the Seven Lucky Gods, etc. and also represents the another such as Eto (Zodiac), Temari (Ball), etc.
The ancestor of Kimekomi Ningyo is Kamo Ningyo (Kyoto), small dolls carved of willow and decorated with cloth scraps.


御所人形 Gosho Ningyo (Doll of Imperious palace)

Gosho means the old imperial palace in Kyoto. Mainly, Gosho Ningyo have the shape of boy baby or Mikado (Emperor) made from the earth or Toso (cray concocted the wood powder and glue) . It was started to produce from Edo Kyoho period (1716 - 36) in Kyoto. In Edo period, it was called Shiragiku (white chrysanth) Ningyo, Zudai (large head) Ningyo, Izuzo (a name of Ningyo shop) Ningyo. Gosho Ningyo is called from Meiji period. Gosho Ningyo has a high artistic value for decoration.


御台人形 Odai Ningyo (Doll of Imperious palace on the base)

Odai means a base, that is to say, Odai Ningyo is attached Gosho Ningyo, artificial flowers and another dolls on the wooden base and represents the scene of Noh pray or lucky items. Originally, Odai Ningyo was a very special doll that Japanese Emperor and Empress have presented the daughters in Imperial family for their birth or their first seasonal festival.


奈良人形 Nara Ningyo (Doll in Nara)

Nara is a historical city as a starting point of Japan. Nara shows the prefecture of Nara or Nara area. Nara Ningyo is a local doll. It is rustic doll made from wood by one-knife carving. It is said that it started from Edo period.


こけし Kokeshi (One of Japanese traditional doll)

The naming is not clear, but it is said that these dolls were originally made during the middle of the Edo period (1600–1868) to be sold to people who were visiting the hot spring in the north-east of the country.


博多人形 Hakata Ningyo (Hakata doll)

Hakata Ningyo is a biscuit-fired doll and one of the traditional crafts in Hakata prefecture. A traditional crafts designated by a Minister of Economy, Trade and Industryy. Hakata doll was started to produce from 17th century in Hakata. It appeared in the 1890 National Industrial Exhibition in Japan and in the Exposition Universelle in 1900 and became a topic of discussion. The “Dolls of the World” which were made with Hakata techniques and were so popular at the Paris World Expo, are now in a collection at the General Research Museum at Tokyo University.


雛人形 Hina Ningyo (A set of dolls displayed through the Girls' Festival season)

Hina Ningyo displays for Hinamatsuri, Doll’s day or Girl’s day. It is a special day in Japan. Hinamatsuri is celebrated each year on March 3. Hina Ningyo is a set of dolls for this special event. It represents the Emperor, Empress, attendants and musicians in traditional court dress of the Heian period on the platforms covered with a red carpet.


五月人形 Gogatsu Ningyo (Suit or Helmet of Samurai displayed throuth the Boy's Festival season)

Gogatsu means May. Gogatsu Ningyo displays for Tango no Sekku, the Boy’s festival. Tango no Sekku is a special event on May 5th to pray for the growth of boys healthily. This origin was came from China by the decoration Shobu (Sweet flag) to prevent illness. In Japan, from 12th century, Tango no Sekku was for boys because Shobu is same reading as Shobu ( Militarism). To pray the growth of boys healthily and strongly, a suit and (or) a Helmet of Samurai are (is) displayed through the Boy’s day. It is Gogatsu Ningyo.

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Posted in Top Art Japan Japanese Culture By JBO Admin

Kimono; Japanese traditional garment

Monday, April 21, 2014 5:04:56 PM Asia/Tokyo

着物 Kimono (Japanese traditional garment)

Some time ago, a word “Kimono” meaned simply a “thing to wear (ki “wear” and mono “thing”). In Meiji period (1868 - 1912), European clothes came to Japan. Japanese people use the words, 洋服 (Yo Fuku, European clothes) and 和服 (Wa Fuku, Japanese traditional clothes) to distinguish them. At the present day, people in the world know a word “Kimono” meaning to Wa Fuku.
Kimono are T-shaped, straight-lined robes worn so that the hem falls to the ankle, with attached collars and long, wide sleeves. Kimono are wrapped around the body, always with the left side over the right (except when dressing the dead for burial) and secured by a sash called Obi, which is tied at the back. Kimono are generally worn with traditional footwear (especially Zori or Geta) and split-toe socks (Tabi).
Today, Kimono are worn on special occasions, Wedding ceremony, Coming-of-age ceremony, etc... But there are many people who loves Kimono and wears it on a daily basis. Professional Sumo wrestlers are often seen in the Kimono because they are required to wear traditional Japanese dress whenever appearing in public.

[Kimono Accessory]

帯 Obi (Sash)

Obi is a sash for traditional Japanese dress. Obi for men’s Kimono is rather narrow, 10 cm wide at most, but a woman’s formal Obi can be 30 cm wide and more than 4 m long. Woman’s wide and decorative Obi does not keep Kimono closed; this is done by different undersashes and ribbons worn underneath Obi. Obi itself often requires the use of stiffeners and ribbons for definition of shape and decoration. Obis are categorized by their design, formality, material, and use. In these days, Obis reuse for the decoration.

[kinds of Kimono]

留袖 Tomesode

Tomesode is a type of Kimono. It is an expensive formal dress worn by married women, corresponding to Evening dress in Europe. Tomesode distinguishes itself from other Kimono by only having patterns under the waistline. It has five or sometimes three family crests (Ka Mon) which indicate the formality of Kimono.
Kuro-Tomesode (Black Tomesode) are often worn for wedding ceremonies by married female relatives of the bride or groom. It is believed that the black color is to match the clean white color of the bride, as this Kimono is rarely used at other occasions than weddings of near family members (mother, sisters or daughters). A friend of the bride or groom would not wear Kuro-Tomesode, but Homongi or Iro-Tomesode. At events at the imperial palace, it is strictly forbidden to wear Kuro-Tomesode, and here Iro-Tomesode is worn. Because, it says that black is a mourning color in the imperial palace.
Iro-Tomesode (Tomesode with colors) is the second most formal Kimono and is similar to Kuro-Tomesode, except that it has light colors instead of being black. It can be worn at weddings by married women not closely relate to the bride or groom or at the other festive occasions.


振袖 Furisode

Furisode is a style of Kimono distinguishable by its long sleeves, which range length from 85 cm for Ko Furisode (Small) to 114 cm for O Furisode (Big). Furisode is the most formal style of Kimono worn by unmarried women in Japan. Furisode is made of very fine, brightly colored silk, and is commonly rented or bought by parents for their daughters to wear when celebrating Comin-of-age day the year they turn 20. By wearing Furisode, a young woman signifies that she is both single and a legal adult, and thus available for marriage. Furisode is generally worn for the formal social functions such as the tea ceremony or wedding ceremonies.

訪問着 Homongi

Homongi replaces the role of Furisode when a woman marries. It is given to the woman, when she marries, to signify her womanhood has transcended into a married life. It is less colorful and attention-drawing than Kimono of unmarried women, but it can be worn by unmarried women too. Directly translated Homongi means “visiting wear” and it was very popular among the upper-class women in Meiji period to wear as a formal dress for going out. Homongi is the most ostentatious Kimono for married women and the second most for unmarried women. Usually, Homongi are worn to tea ceremonies and wedding ceremonies. Homongi is characterized by flamboyant and colorful pattern running continuously over the seams. The sleeve length varies and unmarried women wear longer sleeves. 


白無垢 Shiromuku

A color white was used for parament as a holy color. From the end of Muromachi period to Edo period, Shiromuku is for wedding, parturition, funeral rites or Seppuku. In Meiji period, the European custom came into Japan, a color black has been used for funeral rites and a color white has been used for wedding.

浴衣 Yukata

Yukata is a Japanese garment, a casual summer Kimono usually made of cotton or synthetic fabric, and unlined. Yukata are worn by both men and women. Like other forms of Kimono, Yukata are made with straight seams and wide sleeves. Men’s Yukata are distinguished by the shorter sleeve extension of approximately 10 cm from the armpit seam, compared to the longer 20 cm sleeve extension in women’s Yukata.

Thus, although their use is not limited to after-bath wear.Yukata are worn at outdoor summer events such as Hanabi (Fireworks) or Bon-odori (Dancing) festivals. They are also worn at Japanese Inns (Ryokan) afther bathing. Many hotels in Japan prepare Yukata in a room as night cloth.

[Kimono Fabric]

友禅 Yuzen

Yuzen is one of the popular traditional dyeing techniques in Japan. MIYAZAKI Yuzen-sai (1654 ? - 1736), an artist of fan painting, had started to dye by a technique of Yuzen in Kyoto. Yuzen came from his name, Yuzen-sai. Originally, Dyeing by hand-writhing was only called Yuzen, but nowadays, stencil dyeing or printing patterns with Yuzen styles are also called Yuzen. It is the most representative dyeing in Japan. In particular, Kyo Yuzen (in Kyoto) and Kaga Yuzen (Kanazawa-city, Ishikawa) are famous. Yuzen is very beautiful and elegant with the traditional or natural motifs. The clothes dyed by Yuzen turn to not only Kimono but also many articles like the decorations that adorn the walls.

西陣織 Nishijin Ori (Nishijin fabric)

Nishijin is a district in Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto. Nishijin Ori (Nishijin fabric) is a traditional textile produced there. Nishijin Ori was created over 1,200 years ago by using many different types of colored yarns and weaving them together in decorative designs. During Edo period, Nishijin Ori continued to thrive. Many Japanese studied the art and continued to pass down their trade through the generations by the skilled professionals. But, there was an abrupt stop to the Nishijin trade due to produce unavailability because of unproductive crops until 1837.
Kyoto had fallen on hard times and Japan had decided to change their capital in 1869 and announced that Tokyo was the chosen location. This was the end of Nishijin trade. In the years to come the Nishijin trade began to flourish once again. Starting in 1872 with the trip to Europe to learn from the European weaving trade. During this trip the Europeans taught Japanese new techniques. The Japanese adapted to the use of European methods and machinery. By 1898 the Nishijin Textile trade was developed and encompassed the technology shared by the Europeans. This marked a beginning of a new era of Nishijin Ori and implemented the use of machinery in the Japanese trade. Nishijin has continued to be a successful textile industry throughout the years.
Today Nishijin Ori is seen more frequently in Japanese ceremonies. The main ceremony to view this unique trade would be in a wedding. The work of the Nishijin Ori is present in the traditional clothing of the bride. Her traditional Kimono is beautiful and shows the Nishijin designs that have been handed down through the generations. These traditional designs range from scenes of nature, different breeds of birds and several different type of flowers. There are many other products available through Nishijin Ori. These products range from Kimono, belts, shawls, many different types of cloth and decorations that adorn the walls.

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Posted in Japanese Culture By JBO Admin


Wednesday, April 16, 2014 6:00:46 PM Asia/Tokyo

侍 Samurai

Samurai, usually referred to in Japanese as Bushi or Buke, were the military nobility of medieval and early-modern Japan. Samurai numbered less than 10% of Japan’s population. A word, Samurai is a noun appeared in 16th century came from a verb Saburau, meaning to accompany persons in the upper ranks of society. That is to say, Samurai had been a position to serve for the aristocracies with the military art.
Samurai followed a set of rules that came to be known as Bushido. Their teachings can still be found today in both everyday life and in modern Japanese martial arts.


足利義政 ASHIKAGA Yoshimasa

(January 20, 1436 - January 27, 1490)


武田信玄 TAKEDA Shingen

(December 1, 1521 - May 13, 1573)


上杉謙信 UESUGI Kenshin

(February 18, 1530 - April 19, 1578)


織田信長 ODA Nobunaga

(June 23, 1534 - June 21, 1582)


豊臣秀吉 TOYOTOMI Hideyoshi

(1536 or 1537 - September 18, 1598)


徳川家康 TOKUGAWA Ieyasu

(January 31, 1543 - June 1, 1616)


本田忠勝 HONDA Tadakatsu

(March 17, 1548 - December 3, 1610)


真田幸村 SANADA Yukimura

(1567 - June 3, 1615)


伊達政宗 DATE Masamune

(September 5, 1567 - June 27, 1636)


宮本武蔵 MIYAMOTO Musashi

(1584 ? - June 13, 1645)


高杉晋作 TAKASUGI Shinsaku

(September 27, 1839 - May 17, 1867)

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Posted in Japanese Culture By JBO Admin


Friday, April 11, 2014 10:18:57 AM Asia/Tokyo

刀 Katana (Japanese swords)

Katana is a general term for Japanese swords made by the unique and traditional metalsmith. They were used in feudal Japan as a "samurai sword". Modern versions of the katana are sometimes made using non-traditional materials and methods.
Katana is characterized by its distinctive appearance: a curved, slender, single-edged blade with a circular or squared guard and long grip to accommodate two hands. It has historically been associated with the samurai of feudal Japan. Katana was a supporting post of Spiritual culture as “Sprit of Samurai”.
Through the ages, Katana has had a role as arm, and its beautiful figure has also had a symbolical significance. So, many swords are evaluated as Art.
The length of Kanata blade varied considerably during the course of its history. In the late 14th and early 15th centuries, Katana blades tended to be between 70 to 73 cm (27 1/2 to 28 1/2 in) in length. During the early 16th century, the average length was closer to 60 cm (23 1/2 in). By the late 16th century, the average length returned to approximately 73 cm (28 1/2 in).


Do you look for a good Sword ?


>> Yes, I wanna go to find one :)

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Posted in Japanese Culture By JBO Admin

Kanō school

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 9:56:55 AM Asia/Tokyo

Are you interented in Japanese fine Arts ?

The arts you image might be made by one of artists of Kanō school.

What is the Kanō school ?

There were a lot of amazing artists in Japan.


Read more

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Posted in Japanese Culture By JBO Admin

Japanese Potteries

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 1:37:38 PM Asia/Tokyo

Potteries in Japan !!

There are many kinds of potteries in Japan :)

potteries in Japan


You can read detail about this article from here >> Detail with photos



colorful. blue, green and yellow or other vivid colors are used.



Imari-yaki: Saga pref.

Porcelain(like China). The first porcelain in Japan history. It began in Hideyoshi’s era, 17th century, by masters came from Korea.



Nabeshima-yaki: a kind of Imari-yaki.

It was expensive porcelain and gifted to daimyo (Japanese feudal lords) in 17th century.



Arita-yaki: Saga Pref.

A kind of Imari-yaki. It’s called as its made place. 



Mino-yaki: Aichi Pref.


Seto-yaki: Aichi Pref.

Maneki-neko(a beckoning cat)



Shigaraki-yaki: Shiga Pref.

A raccoon dog pottery doll is made by Shigaraki-yaki.



Banko-yaki: Mie Pref.

Most of Japanese earthenware pot are made by Banko-yaki.


Bizen-yaki: Okayama Pref.

It doesn't use any glazes but is finished by being fired in an oxygen-rich atmosphere.



Iwami-yaki: Shimane Pref.

Having tolerance to salt, acid and alkaline, it used as pot of Japanese pickled vegetables, Ume-boshi, miso.



Tobe-yaki: Ehime pref.

On thick white pottery, pale blue hand writhing pattern. 



Onta-yaki: Oh-ita-Pref.

Geometric patterns made with tool.


You can read detail about this article from "Read More" :)

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Posted in Japanese Culture By JBO Admin


Monday, March 24, 2014 6:03:42 PM Asia/Tokyo

Do you know Bonsai ?


Bonsai is a kind of foliage plant.

A small tree in a pot.


Bonsai is evaluated on the points of wildness.

Good bonsai is like wild tree.

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Posted in Japanese Culture By JBO Admin


Wednesday, February 5, 2014 11:34:11 AM Asia/Tokyo

Rosanjin’s tableware reproduced

Rosanjin’s spirit revived right here, The greatest of “beauty’” and “cuisine”, in this assortment of tableware to your complete satisfaction.

Living in those days of the Meiji, Taisho and Showa periods, the genius Kitaoji Rosanjin (※1)made an unprecedented break-through in the world of modern pottery. His popularity shows no sings of waning today after a long lapse of time. In the memory of his fiftieth anniversary, contemporary ceramists of Kutani-yaki and Mino-yaki, in admiration of Rosanjin, have worked out reproduction of excellent articles, under the supervision of Masaaki Hirano(※2), who is the last member of his apprentices. This is presentation of valuable collection with Rosanjin’s spirit infiltrated in this assortment of the hand-made dishware.

Rosanjin created in his artistic path a large number of works more than two hundred thousands in different genres of calligraphy, painting, carving and ceramics. His talent was best shown in ceramics among them, and his observation to go straight to the inner value of dishware was reflected in his famous phrase; “Dishware is clothing to cuisine.” In pursuit of beauty in his unique characteristics, he paved the way to build up his artistic career and his own life alone by himself to a height of success. He declined to accept any medal of merit or honor, and lived a life freely to his will as an isolated artist depicting the beauty in a bold, but yet delicate touch.

(※1)Rosanjin Kitaoji
Born in 1883 at a Shinto priest’s family in the village of Kamigamo, Kyoto. Fusajiro was his real name. He showed interest in calligraphy or western sign painting since his childhood. Moving to Tokyo in 1904, he was awarded the first prize in calligraphy in the Japan Fine Arts Exhibition held in November that year. He then broadened his activities to calligraphy, carving, painting, ceramic and lacquer. In 1920, he opened ‘Taiga-do Art Shop’ and served meals there for regular visitors. It began to gain high reputation among them and membership ‘Bishoku (Gourmet’s) Club’ was founded. He was also widely known as a gourmet himself. He later founded a restaurant called ‘Hoshigaoka Saryo’. He had food served always with dishware made by himself, which represented his firm belief, “Dishware is clothing to cuisine.” He passed at the age of 76 in 1959.

(※2)Masaaki Hirano
An expert in the history of food. Born in Futtsu city, Chiba prefecture in 1931. Graduated at the Faculty of Literature, Waseda University. He apprenticed to Rosanjin Kitaoji while attending the university to learn arts and cookery. In 1954, he accompanied Rosanjin to travel thirteen countries abroad to experience a vast variety of food, and was later dedicated to the research work on the history of Japanese food.

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Posted in Top Art Japan By JBO Admin
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