The commonly accepted origin of Hakata dolls is 17th-century Fukuoka. Artisans produced unglazed Hakata doll (博多素焼人形, Hakata suyaki ningyō) in clay, as offerings to Buddhist temples or as gifts to Kuroda Nagamasa, the Daimyo ( lord) of Hakata at that .
Hakata dolls appeared in the 1890 National Industrial Exhibition in Japan and in the Paris World Expo in 1900 and became a topic of discussion. “Dolls of the World” were made with Hakata techniques and were well-received at the Paris expo; they are now in a collection at the General Research Museum in Tokyo . Delicately made with rich coloration, covering many aspects of Japanese life from the samurai to fishermen the dolls are an exquisite item for collection and display! Yamazakura.co.uk has a fine selection of these beautiful items .
At the end of the 19th century, Hakata dolls transformed from simple biscuit-fired toys to works of art. Master craftsman Rokusaburo Shirouzu began to study techniques of colour and human proportions and other modern artistic theories and under Itusyo Yada, an oil painter, which led to the production of more realistic Hakata.Yoichi Kohima , a student of Rokusaburō Shirouzu, won a gold medal in Paris' 1925 International Exhibition of Modern Decorative arts for his Hakata dolls, and fellow students Kihei Harada and Yoichi Oayu were awarded silver medals.
The Hakata doll gained fame when American soldiers took them back to the US as souvenirs during the American occupation of Japan following the Second World War . Japan started exporting Hakata dolls soon afterwards. At the same time, the Hakata doll became well known domestically, and factories began producing Hakata dolls of lesser quality.