Methods and Materials


The heads and bodies are made of a white chalk-like powder of pulverized seashells, also used in traditional Japanese painting. It is combined with a heated natural glue, and the mixture is poured into molds. Once it hardens, the molds are removed and the parts are polished with soft cloths. Next, the eyes, mouth, and other features are individually incised with a chisel. This process accounts for the charming warmth of the skin and the fine details of facial expression.
In addition to the beauty of the face and the unique sheen of the skin that this material allows, the surface can be restored to its original condition if damaged-an absolute necessity if a Tomo doll is to be a permanent member of the family.


The eyes are made with the same fine glass craftsmanship used to produce artificial human eyes. They are fixed in position to give the dolls a slightly shy, downturned glance. This glance does not look outward with the piercing ,active quality of human eyes, but is instead deeply passive. First, it arrests the eyes of the viewer, and then it absorbs his attention. The doll offers the viewer a place to rest, soothing feeling of repose. It is this which makes the doll a living part of the family. It almost seems to have adopted its passive attitude on purpose so that it can be with anyone at anytime, participating in deep exchanges of feeling.


A doll’s hair stirs even in the slightest breeze ?real human hair that can hang freely or be arranged as the owner wishes. Tomo Studio is as careful in its selection of hair as it is in all other aspects of doll-making. It must sway naturally to evoke the image of the eternal child within each of us.
A doll's hair has a mysterious attraction that has made it the subject of many strange tales and legends. One story tells of a doll at an old temple who had hair that continued to grow and grow. It grew so quickly that every now and then the chief priest would order to someone to trim it. What is curious is not so much the weird nature of this particular tale, but why such stories originated in the first place. Only an expert could explain each individual case, but it's been said that even if artificial fibers are used for a doll's hair, and they are attached to the head in an unskillful manner, they may seem to grow, at least temporarily. Such stories aside, in every period, dolls have been the focus of a certain kind of fear or anxiety. They often seem to have the power to evoke all kinds of unsetting sensations in those who look at them.


All the clothing for Tomo doll is made from antique fabric. According to Masako Morishige, who produces the dolls’ clothes, the history of these textiles goes back as far as the Momoyama period (1568-1600). Most if the dyed and woven cloth for the kimonos was made from the later Edo period to the early Showa era. The vivid reds and purples that are striking even in a dim exhibition hall cannot be produced by modern industrial methods. The patterns and design of traditional kimonos are reworked into fresh new creations. Valuable silk crepe from the Edo period and examples of Yuzen dying are also used.
Woven material and rich Japanese-style embroidery are used in their original form, tailored individually, which measurements and styles carefully adjusted to conform to the scale of each dolls. At times, Tomo studio acquires partly damaged antique kimonos such as those from museum collections. The parts that are still in good condition are used to make costume for the dolls, and in this way, valuable examples of Japanese weaving and dying are granted a second life.

Antique kimono fabrics

We have collections of many precious antique kimono fabrics which is almost same as museum piece if there wouldn't be any damages or stains on it.
The costume dolls wearing are made from those collection with avoiding damaged parts and cutting without ruining original beautiful pattern. This process requires the sense of artistic sight and forecasting the completion figure.
Also comes to think about how precious the rest of kimono fabrics after cutting, we use these for making tiny accesesories.
Please enjoy their delicate touch of feeling and ripe hue.