“Latter-day Karakuri Giemon”


Yume KARAKURI Ichiza Principal:  Susumu Higashino

*What is Karakuri Giemon?

Karakuri Giemon is the nickname of an craftsman in the era of Edo.

His real name is Hisashige Tanaka.

 He was born in 1799 (the year of Kansei 11), as an eldest son of a craftsman of tortoise shell in Kurume, Kyushu. Among his masterpieces are “Letter Writing Doll”, ”Bow Shooting Boy”, “Perpetual Clock”. After staying in Osaka and Kyoto, he started “Tanaka Seizosho (Tanaka Engineering Works)” in Ginza, Tokyo which later became a foundation of TOSHIBA.


    1. 1950 (The year of Showa 25)

       Born as the third son of Jiichiro Higashino in Gamo-cho Jyoto-ku Osaka-city

       Trained by his father, construction joiner, how to use findings and learnt woodworking technique from the cradle.


      1962 (The year of Showa 37)

       The work “Byodoinn Konjikito” five-story pagoda which took him 3 years to complete, was awarded several prizes at Kansai Art Exhibition


      1968 (The year of Showa 43)

       Started upholstery “Total Interior” together with the manager of the upholstery section from Osaka Sogo department store, assumed the post of representative.


      1973 (The year of Showa 47)

       Devolved the upholstery “Total Interior” to his partner and started “Restaurant Antique”.


      1973 (The year of Showa 48)

       Hold the first “Motorcycles Show” in Japan.


      1975 (The year of Showa 50)

       Studied under Kunio Aoki, the chief of exhibition department of Tokyo National Museum. Also, set up a preparatory committee for Museum of history and technology. Since then, started devoting to research the history of Japanese technology and collecting related materials.

      1980 ( The year of Showa 55)

      Discovered several tens of thousands of aviation material, drawings and research data of Imperial Japanese Navy.

      1986 ( The year of Showa 61)

      Discovered a large amount of original photos of Edo castle shot in early Meiji era.

      Discovered a large amount of photos of treasures of Shosoin shot in the year of Meiji 4.

      Discovered 90 years old Kyoto Heian Tokugikai material.

      1987 ( The year of Showa 62)

        Discovered the Japanese oldest automobile “Sangensya”.

      1988 ( The year of Showa 63)

      Closed “Restaurant Antique”, and concentrated on researches into history of Japanese technology.

      Renovated  “ Dashi (Parade Float) Karakuri”.

      Discovered a portrait of 20 years old Emperor Meiji.

      Discovered 14,000 pieces of film related materials of “Kurutta Ippeiji” “Genkou” etc. written by the novel prize winner, Yasunari Kawabata

      1989( The year of Heisei 1)

      Discovered the Japanese initial Color anatomy picture scroll of Edo period.

      1990( The year of Heisei 2)

      Discovered and repaired the Japanese clock invented by Shozan Sakuma.

      Discovered “Umibiki Doji (Bow Shooting Boy)” made by Karakuri Giemon.

      1991( The year of Heisei 3)

       Renovated “Yumiiri Doji (Bow Shooting Boy)” made by Karakuri Giemon, and presented it at Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers. (Now, one is with Toyota Collection, the other one is with the board of education in Kurume city, the hometown of Karakuri Giemon).

       Discovered the belongings of Tenshin Okakura ( during the Paris expo in the end of Edo era, the year of Keio 3 the year of Meiji 5).

      1994( The year of Heisei 6)

      Finished making the Karakuri “Nana dangaeri (seven times rolling over) doll”.

      Supervised the biggest exhibition of Karakuri in Japan, “Wakasyachi National Cultural Program “Yume Kobo”” held under the guidance of the editor-in-charge Kunio Aoki.

         Since then, supervise Karakuri exhibition at various museums and department stores around the country during his research and development.

      1995( The year of Heisei 7)

         Discovered the design of Old Imperial Palace.

      2000( The year of Heisei 12)

         Discovered the earliest Japanese camera and presented it to the academy, which changed the history of camera.

      2001( The year of Heisei 13)

         Successfully renovated “Karakuri Funsuiki (Fountain)” made by Kanji Okumura in Edo era after spending his 4 years of effort.

      2002( The year of Heisei 14)

      Succeeded in photographic experiment by using the Japanese earliest camera from Edo period, collaborate with Nagoya University of Technology.

      Founded “Japan society of Karakuri Sutudies” based on a concept of “Training craftsmen” and “Fabrication”.

      2003( The year of Heisei 15)

      Invented Mercury Karakuri “Renligaeri, Dangaeri (rolling over)” which use lead ball as a substitute for mercury, for the first time in Japan.

      2004( The year of Heisei 16)

      Started fabricating trilogy of the world’s smallest Karakuri, and completed it.

      Brought back the legendary “Mojikaki( Letter Writing ) Doll” which is a masterpiece of Karakuri Giemon, from U.S.A.

      2005( The year of Heisei 17)

      Repaired “Mojikaki Doll”, the legendary masterpiece of Karakuri Gidmon, and demonstrated it at Exposition of Global Harmony.

      Repaired the world’s smallest strap Karakuri “Yakatabune (houseboat)”.

      Discovered “Amenoato (After the rain)”, the prizewinning work of the 9th Education Ministry Art Exhibition.

      2006( The year of Heisei 18)

      Held and supervised “”YumedaiKarakuriTen” at Edo Tokyo Museum.

      184,000 people, a record high at the Museum, visited the exhibition.

      2007( The year of Heisei 19)

         Announced the world’s largest “Renligaeri (rolling over) Doll” (82cm) at a press conference in Edo Tokyo Museum.

      Discovered and repaired “”ChakumiMusume(Tea Serving Girl)”, one of the masterpieces of Karakuri Giemon.

      Prized as a “Contemporary Master Craftsman, the top of Karakuri craftsmen ” from Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry.

      Set up “Yume Karakuri Ichiza”.

      2008( The year of Heisei 20)

      Successfully fabricated two of the world’s largest “ChakumiMusume” (73cm).

      Repaired a sake cup saucer made by Karakuri Giemon.

      Renovated the sake cup saucer made by Karakuri Giemon.

      Appeared on Mainichi TV program “VOICE”.

      Appeared with “Mojikaki Doll” and “Yumiiri Doji” on Fuji TV “Best House 123”.

      Discovered “Nozoki Karakuri” traditionally learned it was made by Okyo Maruyama.

      Attended at the autumn imperial garden party, explained “Karakuri” to the Royal Family.