A silk-faced oiran doll. Oiran were Edo Period courtesans (and unfortunately, often indentured servants from impoverished families) who were trained in traditional Japanese arts, such as playing koto (a harp-like Japanese instrument), calligraphy, and the tea ceremony. They dressed in colorful, multilayered kimonos, brocade obis tied in front, and elaborate hairstyles with numerous hair ornaments. The most successful oiran were regarded as celebrities and were often the subjects of woodblock prints.

A silk-faced oiran doll. Oiran were Edo Period courtesans (and unfortunately, often indentured servants from impoverished families) who were trained in traditional Japanese arts, such as playing koto (a harp-like Japanese instrument), calligraphy, and the tea ceremony. They dressed in colorful, multilayered kimonos, brocade obis tied in front, and elaborate hairstyles with numerous hair ornaments. The most successful oiran were regarded as celebrities and were often the subjects of woodblock prints.

(Source: m.flickr.com)

An adorable hariko ram for the upcoming Year of the Sheep. The ram’s body is decorated with gold and blue swirls, plum blossoms, and the kanji for “sheep” in gold.

An adorable hariko ram for the upcoming Year of the Sheep. The ram’s body is decorated with gold and blue swirls, plum blossoms, and the kanji for “sheep” in gold.

(Source: item.rakuten.co.jp)

An antique isho ningyo in a purple floral-patterned furisode.

An antique isho ningyo in a purple floral-patterned furisode.

(Source: theriaults.com)

A lucky cat tsuyazaki ningyo from Munakata in Fukuoka Prefecture. These dolls are made of clay and tend to have a slightly puffy appearance.

A lucky cat tsuyazaki ningyo from Munakata in Fukuoka Prefecture. These dolls are made of clay and tend to have a slightly puffy appearance.

(Source: e-fukutsu.com)

A pair of Ichimatsu dolls. (The one on the right has the cutest face!)

A pair of Ichimatsu dolls. (The one on the right has the cutest face!)

(Source: liveauctioneers.com)

A takeda ningyo modeled after a kabuki actor portraying Taira no Tomomori (1152	-1185 CE), a member of the noble Taira clan. Taira no Tomomori served as one of the clan’s chief military commanders during the Genpei War.

A takeda ningyo modeled after a kabuki actor portraying Taira no Tomomori (1152 -1185 CE), a member of the noble Taira clan. Taira no Tomomori served as one of the clan’s chief military commanders during the Genpei War.

(Source: morikami.org)

A kimekomi doll cooking mochi on a charcoal brazier. This doll wears a blue padded vest over his tan kimono.

A kimekomi doll cooking mochi on a charcoal brazier. This doll wears a blue padded vest over his tan kimono.

(Source: panoramio.com)

A close-up of a silk-faced isho ningyo (costume doll).

A close-up of a silk-faced isho ningyo (costume doll).

(Source: japanesehouse.bostonchildrensmuseum.org)

An isho ningyo (costume doll) holding yellow chrysanthemums.

An isho ningyo (costume doll) holding yellow chrysanthemums.

(Source: Flickr / lucianamonte)

Here’s another picture of Miss Okayama with her “little sister,” Miss Konko. Miss Konko was donated to North Dakota State University by boy and girl scout troops in the former town of Konko, Okayama (now part of the city of Asakuchi, Okayama).

Here’s another picture of Miss Okayama with her “little sister,” Miss Konko. Miss Konko was donated to North Dakota State University by boy and girl scout troops in the former town of Konko, Okayama (now part of the city of Asakuchi, Okayama).