Creepy kimono silk doll?

Peering out from the window of a kimono shop, this doll, made almost entirely of silk, was certainly very striking. So stunning, in fact, that the car had to be parked, and pictures taken.

Japanese silk doll

Our presence, however, prompted the owner of the shop to come out, explain what it was made of, and then kindly invite us in for traditional tea and sweets. A decision that resulted in a truly fascinating hour or so, as not only did we get a rundown of the shop’s 120 year history, but we were also fortunate enough to see someone in there being fitted for a new kimono. Not to mention, of course, being surrounded by some incredibly beautiful and intricately patterned fabric.

Yet none of it, not even the wonderful hospitality, in any way made up for the doll’s sinister, even downright satanic, stare.

Japanese silk doll


  1. says

    the doll itself is not so remarkable, I think, but it’s really those eyes that do the trick… the colour! Well played.

    • says

      Yes, as soon as we walked up to it, its eyes were what drew our attention.

      And kept our attention!

      • Ken C says

        I think it’s genetically impossible for a Japanese person to have blue eyes so I wonder if they used blue for the impact

        • says

          Good point Ken. No idea at all why the eyes are blue. But if it was for impact, it certainly worked!

        • Bernadette says

          Nah, it’s not genetically impossible for a Japanese person to have blue eyes. It’s *improbable*, but not impossible. Japan has been sharing genetic material with the West for far too long. It’s still quite a shock; I agree that the blue eyes must have been used for the effect.

          • Ken C says

            You’re right, it’s not impossible but the gene for blue eyes is recessive so it would require three out of four grandparents to be blue-eyed. As you say, improbable. Unless, of course, it’s copying a western Kabuki actor.

  2. says

    It is satanic-looking, but beautiful!!!
    I’m glad that the store owners were really polite, and that you got to know the history of the shop.

    • says

      Yes, a bit of both!

      They were really lovely, even giving us extra drinks and snacks for our journey home. Fantastic people.

  3. Joel says

    That last picture get the eyes pretty “alive”. Maybe if you show to someone that close frame picture and that person doesn’t know it’s a doll and you say it’s a n actor with a mask I’d believe it, hahhahaha.

    Btw, that’s a nice thing about hospitality. Today at the bus two old grannies were complaning how the world was “so” mean and disrespectful. I kinda want to enter the conversation and say “it’s easy to complain, it’s hard to do something”. But reading those lines about the hospitality and how nice it is I think my heart is quite comptempt in that aspect.


    • says

      It really was a bit special. Even the woman in there getting a fitting for a new kimono was really friendly. Almost as though they have a couple of random foreigners in there every week!

  4. psteier says

    The doll depicts a kabuki actor (or a dancer with kabuki face makeup, called kumadori) in a lion dance costume. Doing an image search for ‘renjishi doll’ finds many more dolls in similar costumes, though most do not have the fancy face painting.

  5. winnie says

    The doll is beautiful, I was attracted by its red hair and the eyes.
    120 years of History , Awesome!! :)

    • says

      The area where we found the shop is north of Tokyo, and they got hit with some fairly sizeable aftershocks from the March earthquake, so I hope their shop, despite its age, wasn’t damaged at all.

  6. says

    That’s a beautiful doll, Lee. Times that those I love Japan. Getting invited in for tea and drinks and letting you see all of that. It’d only happen right out in the countryside back in the U.K!

    • says

      Yes, I know exactly what you mean. It was something I won’t forgot. A lovely gesture, by equally lovely people. The shop was somewhat out in the sticks too. A couple of hours away from Tokyo. A very different vibe than many parts of the capital.

  7. says

    He can read your soul! It is pretty creepy, and it seems like you had quite an interesting time learning about the history of the shop.

  8. shrutianime says

    I found the doll beautiful as well :)
    Though it would have certainly looked pretty sinister if you were passing along in a car.. ^^
    Great photos! Please do keep sharing them :)

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