Kimmidolls – A modern take on a Japanese classic

If you’re reading this blog, odds are high that you’ve got at least a passing familiarity with kokeshi dolls. They are one of the most easily recogniseable traditional Japanese art forms. The simple little dolls, with their smooth bodies and big round heads, are naive and charming, while maintaining that quintessential clean-lined aesthetic.

As you may already know, I work in a toy store and love hoarding collecting action figures and art vinyl toys. So imagine how thrilled to bits I was when I came across Kimmidolls. They are made in Australia, and remain true to the spirit and aesthetic of traditional kokeshi while also reflecting modern aesthetics and collecting. While they all have the same smooth body and blunt bob hairstyle, each doll has a unique facial expression and kimono. Rather than being carved of wood, they are made of a heavy and durable stone resin. They are all individually named, and each doll represents a positive emotion or personality trait. They are incredibly adorable and appeal to both my kimono fascination and my urge to collect things. There are four sizes, from the tiny key-chain models to the limited-edition extra-large ones, often decorated with Swarovski crystals.

My collection is small, but I only discovered these beauties late last year.

 

 

I’ve got a wishlist, and hope to keep my collection growing. They’re an affordable little indulgence, especially when I am too broke and too big to wear kimono as frequently as I’d like to.

Kimmidolls can be found frequently in Australia, Asia, and Europe, but may also be available in smaller art/collectibles shops in North America, and are easily available from online retailers such as Tokyo Otaku Mode, Chesterton Manor, City Lights Collectibles, and eBay. There is also the Kimmidoll International fanpage on Facebook, where they engage with fans and post about upcoming collections. And if you are lucky enough to find yourself at Walt Disney World, the Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japanese Pavilion at Epcot has a huge selection. It’s where I got Airi and Chikako.

Art Gallery – Chibi Kokeshi

This adorable little kokeshi doll is by Linda Kentie of Oranda Kitsuke. Several years ago, she was creating these precious little gifts for facebook friends whenever their birthdays rolled around. I’ve been meaning to share mine for years, and I finally remembered to do so! She did a wonderful job of re-recreating my first-ever kimono outfit. She also knows how much I love all things cephalopod and included the sweet little pink octopus on my head! I love this art so much. <3

ねこあつめ – Neko Atsume!

Ok, so this post is only very loosely related to kimono, but I thought it was worth sharing! You may have heard of the mobile app called ねこあつめ (Neko Atsume), as it’s gone a bit viral recently. It’s very adorable, and very easy. All you have to do is make sure your kitties have food and toys, and they will come visit your garden, sometimes leaving you little trinkets or currency. You only have to check it a couple of times a day, and it’s more of a cute diversion than an actual game.

The main reason I’m posting, though, is that a few of the rare kitties available wear kimono!

neko_samurai_cropThis guy's name is Osamurai-san. You can try to coax him into your garden by putting out the Sakura Zabuton or the High Quality Log.
maroThis is Maromayu-san, and he wears traditional Heian era garb. He'll come visit if you put out the Mari Ball item, and sashimi for food.

And once you’ve expanded your garden, you can also buy a very pretty little Japanese garden theme for it:

Neko Atsume garden

You can download Neko Atsume for free for iOS here and Android here. There is a great English-language tutorial available here, and another handy guide here on MeoWoof!

Basho, bunnies, and a buzz cut!

Hello! I’m back, sort of! As some of you know, I had a cranial decompression back in April. I won’t elaborate because it’s a bit creepy and involves my brain meats, but feel free to ask me about if you are curious. Suffice to say it went very well, and my health is improving in leaps and bounds, but until recently I have not had the energy or stamina for kimono.

Earlier this week, Katsura Sunshine, the only foreign rakugo performer in the world, was on the local news discussing his upcoming performance at the Montreal Botanical Gardens Japanese cultural weekend. Queue several days of me getting very excited, planning an outfit, and being generally annoying.

One thing I was certain of, I wanted to wear my hakama. I’m still quite a bit heavier than I used to be, I tire easily, and I was going to be tromping around in a garden. The hakama would cover a multitude of sins. I then decided that since I’d be surrounded in foliage, it would be an excellent opportunity to wear the bizarre basho-leaf houmongi I bought eons ago and never had the chance to coordinate. I realised my bunny geta matched the colours in the houmongi quite nicely, so I went with a bunny haneri to tie things together. I was so excited. The whole outfit has a very soft/girly feel to me, all in shades of pink and purple with pale blue accents, so I decided to wear my pink lace tabi too.

This morning rolls around, dark and drizzling. I started having misgivings about going, but I figured it would be a good excuse to get out of the house. Until I checked ticket prices. It’s nearly thirty dollars a person to enter the Botanical Gardens, plus an estimated $15 to $20 for an afternoon’s parking. My father was going to accompany me, since I am not allowed to drive and was not up to spending an hour on the subway in a kimono. That would have been quite an expense, only to end up getting rained on.

Undaunted, I decided to put the outfit on anyway and take some photos in the yard of my lovely next-door neighbours. Their pear tree is bearing fruit, and was a great place to pose. All in all, I’m glad I decided to get dressed. It was wonderful for my morale.

Kimono and buzz cut, an excellent combination! You can see the charming hole in my head here, or at least what’s left of it… Thanks for looking! Hopefully now that I am starting to feel less sick all the time, I will be posting somewhat regularly again.

Fun With Kimono Dolls, part 2!

I had so much fun making the first Fun With Kimono Dolls post, I decided it might be good to do it again! Here are a few more reasonably accurate kimono dress-up games for you to play with when you’re bored :) Have fun!

Elouai's Candybar Dollmaker - This is NOT specifically a kimono dollmaker, there is an enormous selection of clothing, accessories, backgrounds, facial expressions, hair, etc. Sadly, no options for skin tone though. I had this doll as my avatar on the sidebar of this blog for a very long time!
Mega Yukata Creator - Lots of options for traditional-style and modern sexy style yukata here. Great selection of hair, eyes, and skintones. Sleeves and kimono construction are not totally accurate, but it's still fun. :)
Folk Fashion Kimono - Nice doll with a few hairstyles, and a large selection of accurate kimono and obi.
Kokeshi Maker - Not exactly kimono, but totally adorable! Make your own kokeshi by selecting base skintone, hairstyle, and outfit.
Kimono Girl - Cute dress-up game with lots of hikizuri and fun accessories. Doll base (skin, face, etc) is not customiseable.