Shimoura Bentenkai - Clay doll, "Shishimai" Lion Dance


Shishimai: The lion dance, a tradition at the local Shimoura Shrine Autumn Festival for over 260 years, has been captured in a clay doll. In Japan, being "bitten" by the lion during this dance is known as "Kamitsuku," a term that phonetically mirrors "Kami Ga Tsuku" meaning "blessed by the gods." This act of being "bitten by the gods" is considered a lucky charm, symbolizing good fortune. Please keep this doll close to you as a carrier of luck and protection.

Each doll is hand painted and have unique characteristics.

  • Approximate measurements: 2"W x 2.5"D x 2 1/8"H
  • Material: clay, paint
  • Care instruction: to clean, gently wipe the surface with a dry cloth.
  • Do not hand wash or get wet.


Clay dolls from Amakusa city in Kumamoto prefecture.  Shimoura-benten-kai has started in 2013 as a group to support local businesses and traditional techniques to create the dolls.  This small town in Amakusa used to be a well known place for clay dolls and has more than 300 years of history. Unfortunately most craftsman have retired but recently a few number of women have volunteered to learn the techniques to create dolls and carry on the tradition.