ATELIERGANGU is a store of “mingei gangu” (folkcraft toys) chosen from the unique view of design company ATELIERTAIK.

We used to have a white manekineko sitting in our window,
and a black cat would come by almost every night to visit our manekineko.
This gave us an idea to put a black manekineko next to our phone, and sure enough, business started to boom.
Our friends loved it, and luck came to those who had picked up their own black manekineko.

how a cat helped us open our folkcraft toy store of “lovable non-essential goods”.

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Papier mache toys


【Takasaki Maneki-Neko and Number-Cat】

Takasaki, Gunma has been a rich area for silk cultivation since long ago.
Due to this, rats that eat silkworms were seen as vermin, and many people kept cats as pets because of this.
Cats then came to be viewed as the guardian gods of silk cultivation, and papier mache dolls of them were made and used as decorations.
It was this that begun the idea that using beckoning cats as decorations brought about prosperous business and good luck.

“Number-Cat” is a Takasaki beckoning cat that is made to order and the original pattern by the design company Ateliertaik became the pattern on the apron.


【Kobe Suma-Hariko】

A papier mache creation that has been made by Yoshioka of Kobe since 1984.
He was drawn to papier mache creations in a variety of regions and created their own manufacturing process using used paper from the Edo Period to create their works.
Above the eyes on each of the papier mache creations, you will find green eye shadow, which is used to draw one’s attention to the face.



This papier mache creation is made in recent years by mixing in Tosa-Washi paper and Tosa plaster techniques from Tosa, Kochi.
Its special features include its soft shades made using natural coloring and it making a rattling sound when shaken.
Inside you will find a nut called “Mukorossi (Ritha tree)”, which has the meaning of “a child that grows healthy and doesn’t get sick” in Japanese.
Thus, the papier mache creation itself has the wishes of good health locked inside it.



Miyajima is famous for Itsukushima Shrine, a world heritage site located in Hiroshima.
Here rice paddles have been made as souvenirs for visitors of the shrine since long ago.
Tanaka was born into a woodworking family here and wanted to create something new.
He was inspired by papier mache creations that were in Miyajima long ago, and created his own unique, new Miyajima papier mache creations with plenty of color.



Hamamatsu-hariko, originated in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka has been produced since the early Meiji period based on the technique of the Edo period.
After the founder passed away, the shop was inherited by his son and then passed from the son to the son’s younger sister, Shino, however, all the wooden blocks have been burnt down during the World War II.
Nevertheless, Hamamatsu-hariko managed to survive the crisis of discontinuation and has been impressively brought back to life thanks to Shino’s extraordinary effort.
Hamamatsu-hariko with vivid colors and feminine lines created by Shino was succeeded by her daughter in law, Kayoko, and currently Kayoko’s daughter, Nobue Suzuki, is engaged in the production.


【Kubifuri Sendai Hariko】

In Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, Takahash-hashime-kobo, which produces Kubifuri Sendai Hariko(papier-mache), used to make Kokeshi doll, but later became a papier-mache workshop.
Currently, the second generation Akitomo Takahashi and his wife are making it.
Handmade Washi paper dyed one by one is torn and attached carefully.



Kawagoe-Hariko takes on the form of Kawagoe-Daruma, which have been made for over 100 years since the Meiji Period.
They are made by Mika Yashima, the 4th generation in her family to craft them.
Kawagoe-Daruma have the unique trait of having the Chinese character “寿” (longevity/celebration) on their eyebrows, and you can find the same character on the body of the daruma doll the cat is holding, too. You can find many new papier mache creations with the sensitive expression of the young Yashima, as well the traditional types.

Wooden toys


【Wooden toys】

Tsutaya in Yamagata wooden toys are made with the technology of potter’s wheels.
They are famous for their Kokeshi dolls and windup dolls.
The original Sakuzo Tsuta made many windup toys in the Taisho Period.
These toys, that made funny movements when their strings were pulled, are made by Fumio Tsuta, the son of the business, who has won the Minister of Education Award five times.
The toys enjoyed great popularity, but the company unfortunately went out of business in 2020, and they toys are currently not in production.

Clay toys



Nogomi-Ningyo are clay dolls made in Saga.
Since the 1940s, they have been sold on the grounds of shrines as charms against evil and bringers of good luck, as well as earthenware bells.
The origins of earthenware bells go back a long way and many of which have been unearthed as relics from the Jomon Period when they were used as tools in celebrations.
Their sound is said to have psychic powers that ward off evil, and they have been made nationwide since the Edo Period as amulets and toys.



This clay doll has been made since the late 1940s, originally by Kosen Yamamoto, a female Japanese painter from Kochi.
It once went out of production, but Tosa-Mingeisha revived it by taking on the shape and style.
Tosa-washi-Shikkui-Hariko take this Kosen-Ningyo clay doll as their base concept.



【ateliergangu original postcard】

International shipping

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