Slices of Japanese business, politics and life
I wrote about Japan’s traditional doll industry for the Reuters Luxury Summit this week, and I was surprised to find it’s not feeling much impact from the country’s deepest recession in decades – not bad, considering an average doll set can set you back 200,000 yen ($2,000).
One shop owner I spoke to even said sales had edged up in the all-important shopping season before the Doll Festival on March 3. Sales of some dolls have certainly dropped as consumers have gradually tightened their grip on their purses , but shop owners told me they’d seen solid sales this year of their “hina” dolls – the mainstay of their business.
These ornamental dolls in ancient court attire represent the imperial couple and their entourage, dressed to the nines on a staircase-like stage complete with mini-furniture, a carriage and other items. Families with daughters put the whole cast on display around the time of the festival.
Traditionally, the mother’s parents buy dolls for the first girl in the family, and while popular ones cost about 200,000 yen per set, some go for as much as 5 million yen.