Daruma and Hina-Ningyo Made in Koshigaya
Daruma are thought to originate from the middle part of the Edo Period (1603 - 1867) when the figure of Bodhidharma, who is the founder of Zen Buddhism in China,
was painted onto a small, self-righting doll called an Okiagari-Koboshi. Bodhidharma
is known as Daruma-Taishi in Japanese, so these dolls came to be called daruma.
Daruma made in Koshigaya are called Koshigaya-Daruma, and have long been loved
as charms for protecting children from smallpox, warding off evil, and wishing for good
luck and prosperous business. Each year, around 500,000 daruma are produced in
Koshigaya and neighboring cities, and are sold as Koshigaya-Daruma at the Kawasaki
Daishi Shrine in Kanagawa Prefecture, the Shibamata Taishakuten Temple in Tokyo,
various locations in the Kanto Area (the Tokyo Metropolitan Area and Kanagawa, Chiba,
Saitama, Gunma and Tochigi Prefectures), and as far away as Hokkaido and Kyushu.
In 1984, the making of Koshigaya-Daruma was designated as a traditional handcraft
by the Saitama Prefectural Government.
Hina-Ningyo are the dolls displayed before and during a traditional celebration called
Hina-Matsuri. This celebration is held on March 3rd, and is one where parents wish for
their daughters to grow up to be healthy and happy.
Hina-Ningyo are said to have first been made in Koshigaya about 230 years ago by
Naezaemon Aida. Aida lived in Koshigaya, and began producing Hina-Ningyo there
after learning how to make them in Edo (now Tokyo).
The making of Hina-Ningyo was designated as a traditional handicraft by the Saitama
Prefectural Government in December, 1983. Again, the samurai helmets and armor
that are displayed at Tango No Sekku are also made in Koshigaya, and their making
was designated as a traditional handicraft by the Saitama Prefectural Government in
April, 1996. Tango No Sekku is held on May 5th, and is a traditional celebration where
parents wish for their sons to grow up to be healthy and successful.
Even today, Hina-Ningyo made in Koshigaya are prized for their noble and graceful
countenance, and the torso, head, hands, and legs of these dolls are all made in Koshigaya.
A Scene from the Making of Daruma
A Scene from the Making of Hina-Ningyo
Edo Tansu and Paulownia Boxes Made in Koshigaya
Since early in the Edo Period (1603 - 1867), Koshigaya has been know nationwide
as an area where chests of drawers called Edo Tansu were made, and for many years
the techniques used in the production of Edo Tansu have been handed down from one
generation to another.
The amount of Edo Tansu produced in the eastern part of Saitama Prefecture
(Koshigaya City, the Iwatsuki Ward of Saitama City, and Kasukabe City) is second only
to that for Kamo Tansu, which are another type of traditional chests of drawers. Again,
even today, artisans produce chest of drawers one at a time, using traditional techniques
from the initial stage where timber is selected until the final stage where the chests of
drawers are completed.
The quality of the traditional chests of drawers made in the eastern part of Saitama
Prefecture has been evaluated as the best in Japan, and their making has been
designated as a traditional handicraft by the Minister of International Trade and Industry.
Paulownia Boxes were originally made to hold glass bottles containing a popular toilet
water called Edo-No-Mizu, which was concocted in the Edo Period (1603 - 1867) by the
popular writer, Sanba Shikitei. Most of these boxes were made in Odomari area of Koshigaya
City, and the techniques used in their production have been handed down from one
generation to another for 180 years. Boxes to hold ceramic ware, hanging scrolls, canisters
and cake trays have also been made using these traditional techniques.
A Scene from the Making of Edo Tansu
A Scene from the Making of Paulownia Boxes