Nakayama Doll

The Nakayama Doll was first created by Yoshi Hiwatashi in around 1874. She learned clay work from her stepfather Ukichi Noda, who was a potter, and was inspired by a local pasted rag picture and paper doll. The doll was named the Nakayama Doll after the region where Yoshi lived, Nakayama in Yoshida village, Hiraka county (Yokote City today).
In the Showa era, the doll started to reflect Akita’s historical customs thanks to a successor who acquired the technique of Sendai’s Tsutsumi Doll (clay figure). Later, the doll’s style that involved applying bright colors by hand on molded clay was loved by folk-toy enthusiasts. Today, the Nakayama Doll is a clay doll known all over Japan.
In recent years, the Nakayama Doll includes traditional dolls, such as those with a Kabuki theme, as well as new types of dolls to portray Kamakura snow domes, the Kantou festival, and the Bonden ceremony. One popular series is Zodiac dolls. Their sheep dolls were featured on the 1979 New Year’s postage stamp.