In Japan, the history of dolls (ningyō) traces back to the dogū figures of the Jomon period (10,500 BCE–300 BCE) and the haniwa figures of the Kofun period (300 CE–538 CE). Since then, a variety of unique doll-making traditions have developed in regions throughout Japan.
Doll making consists of the creation of the base form, the dressing of the doll, and the decoration of the face. The body of the doll may be made using various materials such as solid paulownia wood, a modeling compound called tōso that consists of paulownia sawdust and paste, layers of washi paper, or pottery clay. Once the body is complete, the doll is coated with a white paint of pulverized shells called gofun. The doll is then dressed in fabric or paper and colored.


  • 1 Materials are selected
  • 2-1 The doll is carved from wood
  • 2-2 The doll is made from wood clay (tōso)
  • 2-3 The doll is made from layers of washi paper
  • 2-4 The doll is made from clay and fired
  • 3 The doll is dressed, and finishing touches are applied

Artistic Techniques

Decorative techniques

Well-known crafts