b a c k  t o  b i r d d r o p p i n g s

While rummaging through my mother's correspondence in 2002, I came across this "flyer" which I have reproduced here. It adds a bit of new knowledge to my database of Hakata Doll facts.




The first Hakata doll was made in 1596. In that year the feudal lord of Fukuoka, Nagamasa KURODA, was having a new castle built. One day he noticed one of the workmen making dolls from the clay used for the palace's tile roof. The workmanship was so superb that the ruler employed the craftsman to make dolls and ornaments for the castle.

Sohichi, the doll maker, passed his secrets down through his family and the sons were doll makers for four generations. As a youth, however, the fifth Sohichi revealed a weakness for "sake". This, plus lack of patience for detailed work, made his father reluctant to put the family's reputation in his hands.

The professinal secrets were given to the doll maker's daughter who passed them on to her son, the sixth Sohichi. This man, too, was a heavy drinker, but for all of that he was skilled craftsman. However, soon after the revolutionary war in 1858, his health declined and he died without passing his trade secrets to his next generation.

About eleven years later, a group of artists pooled their talents to revive the art of making pottery dolls. They develop£d a highly finished substitute, which in 1885, was Exhibitf:d at the national exhibition represEnting the arts of Hakata. Originally called the Sohichi-yaki (Sohichi Pottery), it gradually became known as the Hakata doll after the place of its birth.


1. Out of plaster the mold will be produced each for the front and the rear of the original pattern. A set of molds will be exposed to the sun for about a week until throughly dried.

2. A lump of clay, after having been rolled, will be streched.

3. After a set of molds are joined together, molds will be removed, which presents the complete shape of a doll. The doll produced out of the mold will be dried in the sun.

4. Requiring elaborate workmanship during this process is artistic doll which ordinally have many accessories and decorations on. When dried, will be baked for about 10 hours in the oven which burns wood.

5. The doll, after baked, will be throughly sand-papered.

6. Finishing touches will be given to the doll with the painting started on the face.

7. The Uedi Hakata Doll Shop initiated the manufacture of the Hakata doll in 1896. Mr. Shigeo Ueda is present propriator of the shop. He started manufacturing dolls in 1921. succeding to his late father.

#227, Nishi Koen-dori,
Fukuoka-shi, Kyushu,