Ichimatsu Ningyo dolls
Master Kokan Fujimura
|Kokan Fujimura, born as Meiko Fujimura, was born in 1953 in Sumida, Tokyo. He began an apprenticeship under his father to become a Japanese doll maker specializing in young children’s faces. His specialty, the Ichimatsu Ningyo doll, was named after kabuki actor Sanogawa Ichimatsu (1722 -1762) from the Edo era. Ichimatsu Ningyo dolls are elaborately costumed with a bobbed hairstyle and dress.
Fujimura's first oversea workshop was held in Chicago in 1983. In 2000 he was authorized as an intangible cultural asset in Sumida-ward, Tokyo. In 2002, Master Fujimura was given the Tokyo Governor-Award.
The shapes, materials, and handiwork steps for Ichimatsu Ningyo were established around 300 years ago. It takes 74 steps to complete just one doll. To begin, the body of the doll is made of Paulownia wood sawdust strengthened by rice glue. Glass eyes are placed inside the head, and then a coating of powder made from oyster or clam shells mixed with animal glue is painted on. To “open” the eyes, sculpture chisels very carefully cut the holes over the glass. The same chisels then shape the nose and mouth. That same coating is painted over the whole head 12 more times. The expressions are then created by drawing the eyebrows and lips onto the face. Hair, made either of silk or grease-removed human hair, is added and stylized.
After the elaborate work to the head is completed, it is finally added to the main body along with the arms, hands, legs, and feet. Lastly, the doll is dressed in a kimono made of cloth from antique clothes. As Master Fujimura says, “Without such traditional materials and traditional handiwork steps, soft and calm brightness never appears on the skin of the doll.”
|Master Kokan Fujimura
JCD with Master Kokan Fujimura