HAKATA DOLL HISTORY
There are various types of traditional Japanese dolls such as paper dolls,wooden dolls,grooved dolls, costum dolls,mechanical dolls and etc. These traditional Japanese dolls were made flourished during the Edo period ( 1600-1868) and these dolls usually represent different regions of Japan.
A Hakata doll is regarded as an icon of Hakata region which is currently a part of Fukuoka city at nothern top of Kyushu island in Japan archipelago.It is noted for its gracefulness, elegance and realistic details.
The history of Hakata Dolls is said to have started in early 17th century in Hakata. A roof tile craftman Souhichi Masaki produced ceramic dolls at the time of Fukuoka castle's construction by Nagamasa Kuroda who was then ruler of the area.During the Bunsei period (1818-1829),Kichibei Nakanoko, a man who had inherited the know-how from Souhichi Masaki,designed a multi-colored,unglazed doll.
Hakata dolls were placed in 1890 National Industrial Exhibition in Japan where they became to be called "Hakata Ningyo (Hakata Dolls)".
It was followed by 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris where they gained international fame.
Transformation from simple ceramic doll to the artwork was seen at the end of 19th century. Master craftsman Rokusaburo Shirouzu turned to the colour theory and anatomical science, modern artisctic theories and technics. Yoichi Kojima who learned from Rokusaburo Shirouzu was awarded a gold medal in 1925 International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris for his Hakata dolls. His fellow diciple Kihei Harada and Yoichi Oayu were hornored with Silver medals as well.
By the work of Allied Forces following WWII Hakata dolls gained another international fame as the soldiers took them back to their home countries as souvenirs. Then Hakata dolls began to be exported overseas to be enjoyed by discriminative collectors.
Nowadays craftsmen are actively producing traditional as well as vanquard design Hakata dolls to open a door toward new era of Hakata Doll.