New Year creations

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Kenji Oda, 66, a craftsman of Hakata-ningyo Japanese dolls, is making ohajiki marbles for the New Year in his studio in Itoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture. Starting in 2015, he has produced 10 new designs of the traditional Japanese toys every year with the aim of them becoming local specialty goods. In the past his creations have included Chinese Zodiac animals and the seven deities of luck. This year, however, he is producing clay catfish and owls with the hope that the novel coronavirus crisis will end as soon as possible, as it is believed that such creatures are imbued with spiritual powers that can ward off evil. They will be sold for three days starting on New Year’s day.