History of Japanese doll Japanese doll that originally came into being as an object of worship, turned into beloved toys in the Heian period. The word ‘Ningyo’ became widely known in Edo period. Their detailed and elegant design was established being influenced by art for instance, Noh and Kabuki with a theme of aesthetic figures, produced a great deal at that time. The style has been passed on to today as Japanese doll.

The efforts of Mataro Doll

The origin of ‘Kimekomi Doll’, one of the manufacturing methods of Japanese doll, is said to be when Tadashige Takahashi the craftsman served for Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto made a small doll as his pastime with a remaining willow material and some spare cloth for the costume of the Shinto priest in the late 1730s. Since then the doll has come a long way by going through various changes and Eikichi Yoshino, a doll artisan from Tokyo, established contemporary Kimekomi doll by bringing back and improving the doll making technique practiced in Kyoto. ‘Mataro Doll’ originated from Kimekomi Doll has received the approval of the solo legitimate heir to Kimekomi Doll by Kamigamo Shrine and been inherited over a century since the foundation in 1919.

Taking part in the project

Mataro Doll who has the over a century inheritance and been challenging themselves to introduce works adapting to the times joins the collaboration project GIBIATE, along with other traditional art, for recognition of the excellence of Japanese doll in the world and among future generation.


Mataro Kanabayashi the Third

Brief Biography

Director of Gangu-ningyou health Insurance society

Director of the Council of the Tokyo Hina dolls Wholesalers' Association

Chairman of Tokyo seasonal festival fair association

Took an interest in Japanese traditional art and learnt doll making technique from his father Mataro the second. Apprenticed himself to Hideo Shimada the Councilor of Nitten Exhibition and Shigeki Yamazaki the member of Nitten / Japan Sculptors Association to learn sculpture and sketch. He has heightened the perception of doll making to a comprehensive art and been creating the graceful masterpieces by integrate modern ‘Mataro taste’ into the legitimately inherited traditional technique for making Kimekomi Doll.

  • In 1962, Born in Tokyo
  • In 1986, Graduated from the faculty of law, Keio University
  • In 1986, Entered Mitsukoshi Ltd, Nihombashi Main Store
  • In 1988, Left Mitsukoshi Ltd, Nihombashi Main Store
  • In 1988, Entered Mataro Doll Ltd.
  • In 2000, Certified as a traditional craftsman of Japan designated by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry
  • In 2001, Took office as the Managing Director of Japanese Dolls' Association
  • In 2006, Took office as the President of Mataro Doll Ltd. / the Director of Mataro Doll Craft Academy
  • In 2013, Succeeded to the name Mataro Kanabayashi the Third
  • In 2014, Took office as the Chairman of Japanese Dolls' Association