This is a traditional Japanese samurai doll. It is handcrafted and is specifically for Boys Day. The doll is from the Kansai region in Japan. Boys day was subsequently changed to Children's day. It is a day set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their healthy growth and happiness. It was designated a national holiday by the Japanese government in 1948. It has been a day of celebration in Japan since ancient times.
This Warrior doll is circa 1940 - 1960 and from the Kansai region however he was purchased in Nagoya, Japan.
Tango no Sekku (festival for boys) is 5th May and changed to Modomo no hi - Children's day. The day was set aside originally to celebrate boys’ samurai spirit.
Essentially the Japanese Samurai Warrior doll is armour and consists of various pieces.
- A helmut, a mouth & moustache. The helmut has a small dragon that affixes to it and also two golden spikes. The mouth armour has a moustache which is meant to scare the enemy
- shoulder, chest and leg protectors,
- shoes and shin guards that fit into the shoes. The pieces sit on a stand which sits on the box.
The leg protectors sit in front of the box and the shoes and shin guards sit under the leg protecting armour.
- The doll is resides in a black lacquer ‘tansu’ box
- gold painted corners on the box
- made from silk and metal
There are various pieces to the doll. Helmut, mouth with moustache, feet and the armour (legs and body). Included in the box is a description of how to lay out the doll and how it finally sits.
From top of the helmut (excl. golden spikes) to the floor: 70cm
Box dimensions: 34cm (h) x 42cm(w) x 32.5cm (d)
Golden spikes on top of helmut: 19cm high.
Stand: 34cm high Leg protectors: 24cm (h) x 33cm (w)
Only one available. This is quite an unusual piece. It looks magnificent on a buffet - very intriguing, majestic has quite a presence.
Samurai warrior armour in the house – a protector
Traditionally, the doll is displayed in the home on May 5th and traditional food and sweets are served.
The Samurai were great warriors and lead their lives according to the ethics code of the bushido (the way of the warrior). Bushido stressed concepts such as loyalty, self discipline, respectful and ethical behaviour.
The origins of the festival are somewhat unknown. It may have commenced in 1281 when the Mongolian fleet was destroyed by a great typhoon known as the famous kamikazi. As a result Samurai families erected flags and streamers in celebration of victory.
Or, it may have started from farming customs taking place in May where farmers trying to ‘frighten’ insects with their banners – later these figures began to represent warrior. During the Edo period (1603 – 1867 – a peaceful period ) warrior dolls were added.
Today, the decorations are a miniature helmets, suits of armour, a sword, bow and arrow and silk banners.
It may just be that having samurai armour in your house will help ward off those bad spirits, welcome good ones and be a protector of the good spirit within.
There’s lots of information on the Internet however here’s a few links about Boys Day and the Samurai:-