Other True Artisanship

Kewpie Dolls: A Revelation

Kewpie Dolls in Takayama
Kewpie Dolls at the Miyagawa Morning Market in Takayama

I came across these adorable Kewpie dolls at the Miyagawa Morning Market in Takayama, Japan. The dolls were not handmade, but they were wearing little handmade 浴衣(yukata, or a casual version of the kimono)! When I laid eyes upon them, they immediately brought me back to my childhood – I couldn’t remember if I actually owned one, or they were so pervasive back in the day that I just felt like I owned one. I picked one up and showed it to my soon-to-be three year old daughter, hoping she would show some level of interest, leaving me no option but to indulge in her childish desires. Lucky for me, she obliged.

When my husband asked me what it was, I proudly explained to him that Kewpie dolls come from a famous brand of Japanese mayonnaise, called Kewpie Mayonnaise. It was not until I returned home from Japan that I discovered the real origin of Kewpie dolls…

According to Wikipedia, Kewpie dolls were first produced in Germany, based on a cartoon illustration that appeared in the Ladies’ Home Journal in 1909. So it wasn’t the squeeze-tube mayonnaise that made the Kewpie dolls famous after all! Dang, I hate being wrong. Worse yet, I now have to go back and tell my husband that I was misinformed … or, I can just see if he’ll read this blog post.

Be Sociable, Share!

By emi

A Japanese native, Emi "emi"-grated to the States when she was 5 years old. She has a passion for traveling, photography, and the beautiful sport of football (or soccer, to some).

Leave a Reply