The Dolls of Japan

(L to R) Dr. Purity Kirua, Ms. Saima Ondimu, Amb. Tatsushi Terada, Hon. Ababu Namwamba; during the official opening of the exhibition.
Prof. Miriam Were, Chancellor, Moi University, looking at the dolls during the official opening.

The official opening of the Dolls of Japan exhibition was held at the Nairobi National museum on the 6th of February 2015. The opening was graced by His Excellency Ambassador Tatsushi Terada, Japanese Ambassador to the Republic of Kenya; Ms. Saima Ondimu, Executive Director, Kenya @50 (Ms. Ondimu was representing the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture & the Arts) and Member of Parliament for Budalangi Constituency Hon. Ababu Namwamba among other dignitaries and guests.  


The total of 70 samples exhibited is simply awe-inspiring to anyone who visits the museums Temporary exhibition hall. “The Dolls of Japan” introduces Japan’s representative dolls. In Japan, dolls have been part of everyday life since ancient times. Japanese dolls reflect the customs of Japan and the aspirations of its people possess distinctive regional attributes and over the centuries have developed in many diverse forms. Dolls also provide a showcase for traditional Japanese craft products, such as textiles.

Some of the representative dolls introduced include Hina ningyo (Girls’ Festival dolls) and Gogatsu ningyo (Boys’ Day dolls), which have their origins in ancient customs; dolls connected to traditional performing arts like noh, bunraku and kabuki; regional dolls from throughout the country; and “creative dolls” produced by contemporary craftspeople. 

“The Dolls of Japan” is scheduled from 5th February 2015 to 25th February 2015 at the Temporary Exhibition Hall at the Nairobi National Museum.

A visitor reading through a write up on the dolls.
GO GATSU NINGYO Uijin, Toko-kazari: Warrior’s First Battle. One example of a display of the Satsuki dolls: the central gallant figure is a young warrior going to his first battle.
Kokeshi dolls, which are known for their simplicity and brilliant colors are made using Japanese wooden turnery techniques. They are divided into two general types, “Traditional Kokeshi” and “Creative Koskeshi”.
Shiokumi: Drawing water at the seaside. The title refers to a famous Kabuki dance. A beautiful young woman, having gone to draw water at the seaside, is yearning for her lover who has returned to Kyoto. Donning his headgear and clothing, she performs a dance.
Kotoro: Playing Tag. A child is trying to catch another child who is at the end of the line.
Ichimatsu Ningyo: Pair of Ichimatsu Dolls. Both of these dolls are in formal costumes.