This website is an effort to archive and make available information about the Karakuri Ningyo tradition in English. Until now there has been little interest from outside Japan regarding the Karakuri Ningyo craft, and its influence on technology and the arts.

Kirsty and Shobei

TAMAYA Shobei IX and Kirsty Boyle at his workshop in Inuyama, 2002 (Photograph by Mr HIRAIWA Yuji, Chunichi Newspaper)

In 2002 I received an Australia Council for the Arts New Media Arts grant, enabling me to study under artisan TAMAYA Shobei IX, a ninth generation Karakuri Ningyo craftsman and the last remaining mechanical doll master in Japan from an unbroken lineage. In addition, I spent time at Nagoya University with Dr SUEMATSU Yoshikazu, founder of the SUEMATSU Robotics Laboratory. These experiences have prompted me to compile this collection of information and images relating to robot culture, so that the Karakuri tradition might be shared with the English speaking world.

I am now considered the leading English speaking authorities on the Karakuri tradition (ancient Japanese robot culture) and have lectured extensively on what I term 'Robot Culture' (modern new media robot culture). I am available for public lectures, collaborations and freelance consultation.

Over the years studying Karakuri I have been writting a book for publication. This website contains a small selection of information from my work in progress manuscript.

My personal website is http://onnai.com.

Please email me at kirsty @ karakuri . info with comments and feedback.



Karakuri Origins

Dashi Karakuri

Butai Karakuri

Zashiki Karakuri

Edo Society

Edo Mechanisms

Karakuri Masters


Robot Perspectives

Karakuri Robots


kirsty @ karakuri . info

Last modified 14 January 2008
Copyright © 2002-2012 Kirsty Boyle

All rights, including copyright, in the content of these web pages are owned or controlled for these purposes by Kirsty Boyle. All images and text are copyright unless otherwise noted. These images are not in the public domain. You are not permitted to copy, broadcast, download, store (in any medium), transmit, show or play in public, adapt, create derivative works from or change in any way the content of these web pages or any portion of it for any other purpose whatsoever without prior written permission. Copyrighted images, articles, and other borrowed content remain the property of their respective owners. No copyright infringement is intended or contained on this site. Every effort has been made to identify and credit the original source of all content, but mistakes are inevitable. If you have a question or complaint about any of the images or other content on this site, please contact me.