As I mentioned before on the previous page, the doll's face, hair, hands and feet, and accessories are all created separately by specialist artisans and it is we the body and clothing artisans who take the job of putting all these parts together to form the actual doll. By creating the doll's kimono and putting all the parts together, the clothing artisan completes the hina doll. This process is briefly explained below, but in actuality the process of dressing and completing the hina doll consists of as many as 4000 stages, and requires particularly well-developed techniques, even among all the styles of Kyoto doll-making.  Here let me briefly introduce the general flow of the clothing artisan's work.


The body is made from wood or bundled straw bound with Japanese paper. The shape of the body is slightly different according to the type of doll.

The body is attached to a platform for stability.

The next stage is wrapping the collar on.  The order of wrapping depends on whether the doll will become a princess or a lord, and also on the clothing.

At this stage the basic shape of the arms is attached.  Until the doll is dressed and Kainaori (or arm bending) is completed, the arms remain in this state.

This is in the case of the lord doll.  The basic leg shape is added. The feet are not bare feet, but made to wear tabi, or split-toe socks, and the legs are also bent at this point.

Finally the lord is dressed in his hakama pants. Seen from below the sight of the lord in his hakama in the case of Ippo-style dolls conveys a clean, smart appearance. At this point the chest is padded to achieve an appropriate thickness.



Nishijin style woven cloth and obi (kimono belts) are used. Layering and color combination are taken into careful consideration when choosing the cloth.


This measurement chart records secret techniques which are the fruit of years of trial and error efforts. It is used in place of dress patterns.


Japanese paper, meant to line the cloth, is cut in accordance with the measurement chart.


Paste is spread onto the cut paper with a wodden spatula tool.


This paste-coated paper is attached to the cloth to give it an appropriate stiffness.


The paper-reinforced cloth is then cut into shape. The cutting of both Japanese paper and the cloth is done with the use of a special knife.


The next step is to sew the various pieces of cloth together to make each part of the final clothing.


These are the various clothing pieces used for princess and lord dolls.



The body of the doll is dressed.


To avoid the kimono becoming loose and untidy, it is stabilized and the arms are bent (kainaori--see below) to create the doll's pose.


Finally the head piece and accessories are added to complete the doll.





Kainaori--the quality of completion for both lord and princess dolls is determined entirely by kainaori (arm-bending). First the arm is bent cleanly in 2 places at the shoulder and the elbow. Attention is paid to the line of the clothing and the overall balance of the arm.  An artisan builds up his technique through long years of experience, becoming able not only to unify the length of both shoulders and arms, but also to complete dolls in the same pose. This kainori (arm-bending) determines the overall appearance of the doll. It is possible to determine who created the doll by observing the quality and style of kainaori.





Mohakama is one layer of the clothing of hina dolls made in the 12 hitoe(layered kimono) style. White woven cloth is decorated with embroidery and hand drawn versions of various designs. Originally there was no such word as 12 hitoe and it was called such things as Nyobo Shozoku (wife wrapped in clothing), Onna shozoku (lady wrapped in clothing), and Mokaraginu (describing the outer layer of clothing). The process of dressing the doll begins with Nagahakama (long hakama), then Hitoe, and over that are added the glamorously beautiful Itsutsuginu, Uchiginu, Uwagi, and Karaginu.  Finally the Mohakama is tied around the doll's waist in the fashion of a reverse apron.

Here you can see the artisan illustrating flowers such as chrysantemums and primroses.


The line drawing is outlined with ink and then color is added.


Finally the name of the work and the artisan's stamp are added.





Doll's clothing are commonly made from Kinran (cloth woven with golden threads), but obi, or belts from actual kimono, and costumes from No dramas are also often used. These bolts of cloth are transformed into a new type of beauty when they are made into doll's clothing.


This picture chart is hand-written by Master Ippo, and depicts the designs and patterns of woven cloth which are used in doll's clothing.