Folk toys of Tottori Prefecture 

Tottori Prefectural Government

An inheritance of folk culture

Folk toys of Tottori prefecture 
In Tottori prefecture, the creation of folk toys (including hariko papier-mache dolls, clay dolls, and wooden toys)  continues to thrive in the present day. The abundance of forested areas in the prefecture have long supplied the necessary wood for their production, as well as provided for a long history of their development.
After the interruption of World War II, the prefecture experienced a revival in the folk toy market, spurred by innovative design and creativity. in the case of clay dolls made in the central region of the prefecture, the small, creative figurines were not just based on traditional subjects like the Tenjin deity, but also were expanded to include characters from local mythology and folklore.
The making of Nagashibina
Nagashibina are a pair of paper dolls on supports that are created to float on the surface of the water. The dolls are traditionally created out of red paper decorated with gofun (white powdered pigment) in the pattern of ume (Japanese apricot) blossoms. The male figure is adorned with gold eboshi hats and hakama pants, while the female figure includes a gold obi sash. The dolls are most often placed on a sandawara (circular rice straw disc) or oshiki (square-shaped wooden dish).
The origin of nagashibina dolls can be traced back to the Heian period (794-1185), and their production in Tottori prefecture began sometime during the Edo period (1615-1868). On March 3 of the lunar calendar each year, pairs of male and female paper dolls are  placed on sandawara (straw discs) along with hishimochi (rhombus-shaped rice cakes) and twigs from the apricot tree. They are then set afloat on the water of the Sendai-gawa river as people pray for peace and prosperity, symbolically transferring misfortune and impurity onto the paper dolls.
The making of Sandawara
Stalks of straw are cut to the same length and joined together at the center. The bundled straw is evenly spread out with the central joint as its radial center. A round wooden disc is then placed at the center.
The lengths of straw that extend beyond the wooden disc are then woven along the curved rim of the disc in multi-stalk bundles.

The lengths of straw that extend beyond the wooden disc are then woven along the curved rim of the disc in multi-stalk bundles.

The bundles of straw are then fixed in place at the end with additional staw.
The making of the dolls
Paper clay is used to made the heads of the dolls and gofun (white powdered pigment) is then applied. The eyes and hair are painted using black sumi ink, and the mouth is drawn using vermillion pigment.
The bodies of the dolls are created using red paper decorated in the motif of ume (Japanese apricot) blossoms applied with gofun (white powdered pigment). Gold paper is used to make the obi sashes, hakama pants, and oboshi hats. Sticks of bamboo are then used to affix the dolls to the sandawara discs. 
The Nagashibina-no-yakata
The Nagashibina-no-yakata is a designated facility built in a traditional wooden architectural design to present and celebrate in posterity the culture of the Nagashibina ritual in Mochigase township of Tottori city. Traditional hina dolls from different eras and various regions are on display, along with demonstrations of the making of Nagashibina.
Hakota Doll Workshop
A peddler from the Bingo region (present-day Hiroshima prefecture), named Bingoya Jihei, is said to have created the first Hakota doll. Upon his arrival to Tottori prefecture, he became so captivated by the beauty of a humble country girl from Kurayoshi that he fashioned a doll in her likeness.
Hariko / papier-máché
Hariko or papier-mache is made by pasting strips of paper over a wooden mold made from the paulownia tree. Once dry, the papier-mache is removed from the mold and painted with an undercoating of gofun (white powdered pigment). Color pigments are applied to decorate the figure, before glue is added to seal the surface and provide a glossy sheen.
The Making of Hariko Dolls
Pieces of dampened newspaper are placed over the wooden mold before strips of washi paper are layered with glue. Once the washi paper is dry, the paper shell is removed from the wooden mold. Three coats of gofun (white powdered pigment) are then applied as an undercoat.
The hair and outline for obi sash and kimono are drawn using black sumi ink. Animal glue is then applied in three coats, before red pigment mixed with glue is used to paint in the kimono. Finally, details of the kimono's pattern and face are added.  
The Hakota doll workshop is located among the white-walled storehouses in Kurayoshi. This district contains many buildings erected during the Edo and Meiji periods(1615-1912), and it is designated a National Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings. This is a scenic area where you can see historical buildings with traditional white-washed walls and red roof tiles, as well as old stone bridges that straddle the meandering canals. 
Wooden figures of the animals in the Chinese zodiac
The woodturner named Ogura Sahei began fashioning wooden figures about 200 years ago. His seventh-generation descendant is known to have first created animal figures of the Chinese zodiac, celebrated for combining traditional wood turnery with creative designs and decorative effects.
Ogura-ya Wood Workshop
The body of the figures are fashioned of wood with the surface painted with bright color pigments. Though simple, the finished figures have an unconventional charm to them. Today, the craft is continued by the eighth generation of the Ogura family.
Shinobu Folk Toy Workshop
These wooden figures of animals in the Chinese zodiac exemplify the handmade folk toys created using the cedar and hinoki cypress trees of Tottori prefecture. The figures capture the distinct characteristics of each animal, simplifying the shapes and painting the surfaces with stylized details that give them a modern sensibility.
Wooden Dolls
These simple, wooden dolls were created based on the models of the popular Nagashibina paper dolls of Tottori prefecture. Wood from local hinoki cypress trees grown in the mountains of the Chugoku region are used. The colorful surfaces are decorated with kimono designs that include stylized motifs of ume (Japanese apricot) blossoms, and wisteria.
Tottori Clay Dolls
These clay dolls were also created based on the popular Nagashibina paper dolls of Tottori prefecture.  The same motif of ume (Japanese apricot) blossoms is used to decorate the surface of the dolls. The stylized application of pigments in gold, white, vermillion, and pale green give the dolls a modern look.
Workshop of Shinobu Folk Toys
First-generation Shinobu Noriyasu began making folk toys after World War II using the techniques he acquired from his family skilled in wood joinery. His son, Kentaro, is continuing the craft through the creation of new folk toys with modern design elements that build on his father's tradition.
WARABEKAN, Toy and Children's Songs Museum
The folk toys area of the WARABEKAN Toy and Children's Songs Museum showcases major works from both Japan and the rest of the world, while highlighting many works from Tottori prefecture. The museum also presents children's songs by many celebrated composers born in Tottori prefecture, including Okano Tei'ichi (Composer of "Hometown") and Tamura Torazo (Composer of "Kintaro, Golden Boy").
Tottori Prefectural Government
Credits: Story

Supported by:
Hakota doll workshop

Directed and text provided by:
Tottori Prefecture

Photograph created by:
Maezaki Shinya, Kyoto Women's University

English Translation by:
Eddy Y. L. Chang
English edited by:
Laura J Mueller

This exhibition is created by:
Masuda Maho Kyoto Women's University

Project Directed by:
Maezaki Shinya, Kyoto Women's University

This exhibition is provided by:
Tottori Prefectural Govenment

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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