Yabase Doll

The origins of the Yabase Doll are traced to when a doll maker from Kyoto set up a pottery establishment in today’s Akita City in 1772–1788. A mold was dug up from the pottery’s ruins by villagers from Yabase, and that became the Yabase Doll mold used today.
Yabase has a Sannou-Hiyoshi shrine and a Tenmangu shrine. Festivals in those shrines became increasingly prosperous in the late Edo period, so Akita’s Kubota castle flourished. Doll shops in the region thrived as there was a custom to decorate a Tenjin doll for the birth of a boy, and a Hina doll for a girl.
The production process has five steps: preparation, mold-making, drying, baking, and painting. The traditional mold-making that involves putting two molds together, and the elaborate hand-painting, add a simple and familiar attractiveness to the clay dolls.
The original forms include the god Tenjin, also affectionately called Oden-tsan, as well as the gods Ebisu and Daikoku, and Oiran’s bride.