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Ninth generation Tamaya Shobei Karakuri Doll
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The ninth generation Tamaya Shobei


The ninth generation Tamaya Shobei was born as Takashina Shōji in 1954. He began an apprenticeship with the seventh generation Tamaya Shobei at the age of 25. He assumed the Tamaya Shobei title in 1995. In 1998, he completed his reconstruction of a late Edo period archer boy Karakuri doll originally created by Tanaka Hisashige. In 2003, acting as a representative of the Edo-period tradition of Karakuri doll making, he presented a tea serving doll to the National Museum of Nature Science located in Ueno (Tokyo). In July of 2005, he presented a tea serving doll to the British Museum, which was placed in the Japanese Exhibition there along with a copy of the Karakuri Zui belonging to the British Museum's collection. In the same year, he created a cart-pulling Karakuri doll which was exhibited in the Aichi Prefecture Pavilion of the Aichi World Expo. In November of 2011, he toured a number of European countries, including Portugal and the Czech Republic, to give presentations about Karakuri dolls as part of a government-organized program to introduce Japanese culture to the world. He is based out of his home studio in Kita-ku, Nagoya, where he works repairing and creating parade float Karakuri dolls from all over the region. In 1996, he opened a workshop in the Karakuri Exhibition Center, a part of Inuyama City's Cultural Museum, where he currently gives demonstrations of Karakuri fabrication methods each Saturday.

Presentation for public in Yokosuka-city Tamaya Shobei IX received the Nagoya Citizen`s Art Prize in 2002 Tamaya Shobei`s IX Studio in Kita-ku Nagoya-city
Restoration of Urashima Doll
Tamaya Shobei VIII & IX
  • Performing Sarashina-Hime Doll
  • Zashiki Karakuri and Tamaya Shobei`s IX Son
  • Aya Watari DollInuyasa-sai Seiobo
  • Karasutengu, Ushiwakamaru, Otengu,Kotengu
  • Rangui Watari of Karasutengu
  • Restoration of Tea Serving Doll by Tamaya Shobei IX(Chunichi Newspaper Jun.20, 2003)
  • Karakoshinan-sya in Aichi EXPO 2005
  • The newest doll is  Wipe Out Nue(Mainichi Newspaper Sep.4, 2007)
  • Preserving the roots of Karakuri art(Chunichi Newspaper Aug.20,2010)


Exchange activities abroad

1994 2nd EU Japan Festival in Lisbon, Portugal. Karakuri Doll Exhibition, Live Performance.
1999 Epcot Center Japan Pavilion, Disney World, Florida. Performance of Karasu-Tengu (Crow-Tengu).
2000 Hanover Expo Japan Day, Hanover, Germany. Production of Shin Karasu-Tengu (New Crow-Tengu).
2002 Matsuri in Hawaii, Washington Place, Honololu, Hawaii. Exhibition featuring Cha-hakobi dolls and a performance of Karasu-Tengu.
2002 Montana Takenoko-kai 50th Anniversary Celebration, Missoula, Montana. Karakuri doll demonstration.
2002 Travel to Switzerland to learn about music boxes and automata at workshops at museums, participation in cultural exchange events.
2004 Japan Foundation Arts and Cultural Exchange Program (UK, France, Italy, Morocco).
2005 Participation in L.A. Japan Expo, Los Angeles, California.
2007 “The World of Shobei Tamaya”, MIT (Boston) and Washington D.C. Sponsored by NPO Karakuri Robot.
2008 Japan Foundation Arts and Cultural Exchange Program (Sidney and Canberra, Australia).
2009 Sweden, International Doll Festival, Karakuri demonstrations (Cha-hakobi and archer dolls).
2011 May 20th - October 10th Canadian Museum of Civilization, “Japan: Tradition and Innovation” Exhibition, invited to participated in special exhibition.
Robot Exhibition in Korea.
  May Japan Foundation Arts and Cultural Exchange Program (Ottowa and Toronto, Canada). “Japan: Tradition and Innovation” Exhibition.
  October Japan Foundation Arts and Cultural Exchange Program (Portugal, Germany, Czech Republic, Luxembourg)
  November Torino, Italy. First exhibition focusing exclusively on Karakuri dolls outside of Japan.
  • Presentation in Edinburgh, UK 2004
  • Presentation at Algeria Institute of Technologyin Algeria 2006
  • Presentation in Boston & Washington DC. USA 2007
  • Presentation in Sydney & Canberra Australia2008
  • Presentation in Ottawa & Toronto Canada 2011
  • Presentation in Torino Italia 2011
  • Presentation in Shanghai China 2005
  • The Tea Serving Doll is sent for permanent exhibition at British Museum  (Mainichi& Chunichi Newspaper Jun.9 2005)