Until about two years ago, my idea of a Japanese doll was the Sailor Moon-type appearance with flawless skin and huge, expressive eyes. Or this doll at the left, which they actually call the Geisha doll.
I was Christmas shopping at Rustan’s Makati and browsing their knick-knacks when I saw the dolls. Oh my! It was love at first sight! The hubby had gotten started on his miniature die-cast car collection and we had been thinking about starting one for me (as if I didn’t have enough stuff to collect).
These are Kimmidolls – Japanese dolls by an Australian company, manufactured in China (!). These dolls are of the “creative” type – which means that the artists have more freedom in terms of shape, design and color, compared to the traditional Japanese dolls, the kokeshi.*
My Collection of Kimmidolls
I have them in maxi size, about 4 inches. Eika was my first ever Kimmidoll, so she’s pretty special. The dolls’ names are meant to represent and celebrate life’s true values. They are cast from high quality resin and wrapped in a decorative PVC box.**
Chikako is the “under maintenance” image at the website as of the moment and that has me beaming in pride. For me, she is one of the most alluring to-date.
My sister gave me these three minis as a gift from two years ago. They are about 2 inches in height, half of the maxis.
About the Kokeshi
It’s been said that kokeshi originated from Northern Japan; its etymology said to be from wooden (木ki, ko) or small (小 ko), and dolls (芥子 keshi). The wooden dolls were handcrafted by kijishi, potter’s wheel artisans. The dolls are characterized by their enlarged trunk and large heads, faces painted with lines to depict eyes and mouth, bodies with floral designs and covered with a layer of wax. They have no arms and legs. Mii Avatars on the Wii are based on the shape of the kokeshi.*
I’ve recently had the privilege of owning authentic kokeshi (well, almost authentic because they don’t come from the North) brought for me by my childhood friend who works there. We had a rendezvous with other friends in Thailand (after 20 years!) and my friend Ana brought me 4 (yes, 4!) dolls – all in their simple carton boxes with Japanese lettering on the covers. I LOVE THEM!
I had to cover their boxes with plastic to make sure they don’t gather dust. Ana promised that she’d buy me more when she goes to visit the North. She couldn’t translate the names to English for me but a friend of my hubby knows Japanese and gave me English equivalents. Aren’t they lovely?
I also have limited edition Kimmidolls from the past two years. The sizes are slightly larger than the maxi ones that I collect. They don’t have more than a few thousand of the regular ones made per season, but only 5,000 of the limited editions are produced all over the world in a year so these are hard to come by if you don’t grab them as soon as they are in stock. I’ve been a regular visitor of Rustan’s both in Makati and Edsa Shang – Makati seems to be more updated. I have heard that these are also available in Fully Booked though.
The limited editions are embedded with Swarovski crystals, thus giving them a more elegant feel. The price is more than double the maxis too, and they come encased in a satin-lined hard box with a glass cover.
My husband built me a shelf for my dolls at the foot of the stairs in our living room, and he installed a spotlight so that I can fully admire and showcase them whenever I want. Bless him!
The Japanese doll mania also spurred other gifts like a keychain (from my sister), mugs and lip balm (from another sister) and other accessories (from Ana).
It feels so good to be loved!