Higashiyama artisans craft figurines, bells, and gosho ningyo dolls to ring in the new year.

When it can, Starbucks Japan likes to shine a spotlight on local arts and culture. That desire is baked right into the name of its Jimoto Made + (jimoto meaning “local”) series of drinkware and interior accents, in which the Seattle-founded coffeehouse partners with master craftsmen from various regions of Japan.

With the end of the year coming up, Starbucks is once again teaming up with Kyoto artisans for a collection of traditional Japanese New Year’s decorations. For the 2023/2024 changeover, Shimada Koen, a doll and figurine maker founded in 1859 in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district, is mixing classical motifs and playful Starbucks styling cues with these earthenware Year of the Dragon figurines.

As we mentioned when discussing Disney Japan’s draconian Eto Pooh plushies, Japan celebrates New Year’s according to the Gregorian/solar calendar, but it also observes the Chinese zodiac custom, switching over to the new animal representative on January 1. Shimada Koen’s Year of the Dragon figurines are compact enough to fit in among any other décor on your shelves, tables, or art alcove ledges, while still being big on presence and cuteness. Though not visible in the preview photos, each dragon also has a star, the symbol of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo, on its back as a subtle signal to fellow coffee fans.

If you’d prefer said star front and center, there’s also a trio of dragon bells in the same color scheme. In Japanese folklore, earthenware bells, called dorei in Japanese, are often considered charms that ward off calamity and invite prosperity into one’s home. On a more basic level, they also sound really nice when you ring them.

Speaking of beckoning good fortune into your life, also part of the Jimoto Made + Higashiyama line, as this collaboration with Shimada Koen is called, is a maneki neko, or beckoning cat, covered in luxurious platinum foil.

Then there’s Shimada Koen’s primary specialty, gosho ningyo, also known as “palace dolls.” The dolls of cheerful chubby children were originally gifted to ladies of the imperial court to celebrate auspicious occasions such as the start of the new year. The practice then spread to samurai lords visiting Kyoto in the days when the city was the capital of Japan, and then to the common people. For Jimoto Made +, Shimada Koen has created two gosho ningyo designs, one large and one small, and both featuring a turtle, a traditional symbol of longevity and wellness in Japanese art.

The Year of the Dragon figurines are affordably priced at 1,500 yen (US$10.40) each, the dragon bells at 4,800, and the smaller gosho ningyo at 4,500. The bigger gosho ningyo has a much bigger price tag of 55,000 yen, and the platinum-covered beckoning cat, as you might expect, is the priciest of all at 60,000 yen.

The entire lineup goes on sale December 13 at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo in Tokyo’s Nakameguro neighborhood, and while not yet officially announced, will hopefully also be added to Starbucks Japan’s Jimoto Made + online shop.

Related: Starbucks Reserve Roastery Tokyo, Jimoto Made + online shop
Source: PR Times via Entabe
Images: PR Times
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