Dolls in Japan are not just fun for children. They are not played - they are looked at, they are admired. The very Japanese name for the dolls - ningyo (人魚) - is made up of the hieroglyphs "person" and "image". Hence the function of Japanese dolls - to represent symbolically gods or people.
Every year on March 3, Japan celebrates the Girls' Day, which is several hundred years old. Its modern name is hinamatsuri (雛 祭 り) which translates to the Festival of the Dolls. On this day, families with girls put up a hinakazari - a multi-tiered stand, similar to a ladder, on which the main treasure, hina ningyo (雛 人形), is displayed for all to see. Colorful dolls depict members of the imperial family. They are made of very expensive materials. Hina ningyo are inherited as a great value. Hinamatsuri demonstrates to family guests that the girls are well-mannered and respectful of etiquette.
Before World War II, Japanese boys also had their own holiday. But in 1948 it was turned into Children's Day - Kodomo no hi (子 供 の 日) and made nationwide. It is celebrated annually on May 5th. According to the preserved tradition, on this day a special shelf covered with green cloth is hung in the families of boys, on which gogatsu-ningyo are displayed: samurai dolls, warriors, historical heroes in bright armor, as well as horses and tigers.
Many centuries ago, masters who worked at the imperial court began to make gosyo-ningyo - dolls depicting fat-cheeked, well-fed children, full of health. Each doll is cut out of wood and covered with a special gofun solution made from crushed oyster shells. Today, the gosho ningyo is a talisman that is taken on a long journey.
Imagine a doll that drives up to a guest with a tray with a cup of tea on it, freezes in anticipation, and when he takes the cup in his hands, ceremoniously bows and drives back! This is a karakuri ningyo, a mechanical doll. Her smart kimono hides an elaborate mechanism that is powered by a clock spring, pouring sand or hot steam. A mechanism made without a single nail or bolt! The master of karakuri-ningyo kept the secret of their manufacture like the apple of his eye, passing it on only to his son and only orally.
For a long time in Hakata they sang: "I come to Hakata - I go alone, I return from Hakata - I go with a doll." Ceramic hakata ningyo are very expensive, each of them is made in a single copy. Legend has it that their secret was imported from China and that they are already seven and a half centuries old. Thanks to the hakata ningyo displayed at the 1900 World's Fair in Paris, Japanese dolls and Japanese culture became very popular in Europe.
Much cheaper, but no less colorful than kokeshi. These dolls, which have a more symbolic appearance, are carved out of wood: separately - the body, separately - the head; rarely - from a single piece of wood. Then they cover it with painting. The kokeshi have neither pens nor legs. In modern Japan, they are popular souvenirs. Despite some similarities with Russian nesting dolls, they have no common roots.
But daruma - a historical fact - at the end of the 19th century and later - became the prototype of two of our toys at once: nesting dolls and a tumbler. The doll itself symbolizes Bodhidharma, a deity who brings happiness. And it looks like this because Bodhidharma, according to legend, meditated for many years in a row and premeditated until the limbs were completely atrophied. The very name of the doll is taken from a real person who lived in the 5th-6th centuries, who founded the Buddhist Zen school and the legendary Shaolin monastery.
Pullip are modern Japanese dolls. They are not only collected, but also created on their basis author's dolls. The pullip feature is hard vinyl as a material, extremely movable hinges in the joints and a special mechanism in the head, thanks to which the doll can lower and raise the eyelids, look in any direction. The branded wig on the head can be exchanged for a handmade one. And there are whole boutiques of clothes for pullip!
It is very difficult to believe that there are also dolls in this photo. These are love dolls. Its shell, made of special plastic, not only looks, but even feels like human skin. And the almost lively look of such a doll inevitably evokes sympathy. The more realistic the body of love dolls, the more details it has, the higher the price, reaching astronomical. It is possible that it is love dolls that will become the basis for the creation of humanoid robots: several successful copies have already been created in Japan.