Hanami – Lea 26, Princess of Japan

12 May

You knew I had her tucked away, right? Princess of Japan is an unusual and very beautiful Lea, and no Lea/ Kayla collection would be complete without her. Having said that, she was a long time coming. These dolls are pretty easy to find, but I just kept seeming to miss her. In the end, I managed to find a still-in-the-box example for the bargain price of ten quid.



Princess of Japan dates from 2003, so she’s now ten years old. I was interested to find that the box blurb featured a little bit of educational background about Japanese custom too (and Hanami in particular):


The doll itself is quite beautiful. Now and again, I have slagged off the DOTW range for producing Vegas-style jazzed up versions of national costumes, and as I am not Japanese and have only a limited understanding of the complex and subtle phenomenon that is the kimono, they might be doing it again here for all I know. But God, its nice to look at.




I love her pallor and the face painting is perfect – she has a porcelain kind of look that reminds me of the beautiful Midnight Moon Princess. The kimono pattern is very detailed but the material feels rather nylonish. However, I think that this is probably intended to minimise creasing rather than to save on cost, and it doesn’t look cheap. I also love her tiny geta – if only she had proper toes to go through them!


Another interesting and attractive feature of this doll is her painted-on hair, which is beautifully done. Its nice to see display dolls that look as good from the back as they do from the front:



8 Responses to “Hanami – Lea 26, Princess of Japan”

  1. Andrea May 12, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    She is so beautiful. Congrats on getting her. I love the Lea facemold very much, but this beauty has eluded me so far. It really is a nice sirprise to debox a doll who hasn’t totally messed up hair in the back. Nice twist with the painted hair feature, that makes her hairstyle look very realistic.

    • barbielea May 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      Thanks Andrea πŸ™‚ I was generally surprised with the level of detail on this doll, but the painted hair is probably my favourite feature. She has little wispy “sideburns” as well, somebody really thought this through. The only problem now is the same one I have with many of my factory styled dolls – I would love to let her hair down and redress her! I never will, but I might see if I can get a less pristine model I can do this with one day.

      Good luck getting your Princess, best wishes

  2. ionafrancesbrown May 12, 2013 at 5:43 pm #

    Thanks for liking my post, I LOVE THIS BLOG aaaaah!

  3. Ian May 13, 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    She is stunning in your photographs, and her outfit looks amazing. I’m also mightily impressed by her painted on hair – unlike other dolls, such as Brandy or some of the S.I.S girls where I can see what they’re getting at but feel its unnecessary sometimes, it is entirely suitable. I’ve passed over her on Ebay a couple of times, but now I’ve seen your pictures I’m stroking my beard and thinking, “Hmm….”

    • barbielea May 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

      Thanks Ian πŸ™‚ I know what you mean – I’ve chased plenty of other Leas much harder than I did this one, but now I’ve got her I’m very glad that I did. If I was going to display her, I think I would display her with her back facing outwards, because I think that the painted-on hairline and the back of the Obi creates a lovely, classic image. Good luck getting hold of her, you won’t regret it! Best wishes

  4. discodiva1979 May 14, 2013 at 2:05 am #

    Congratz on your new find-I love all the details on the kimono-its so colorful & pretty. I loved that you de-boxed her & got a feel for her & what a surprise to see the lovely details on her hair-definite thumbs up for Mattel for not skimping! Yea!

    • barbielea May 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

      Hi DD. I debox neary everything! I admit it can be a bit intimidating when its a very expensive/ rare/ old doll, but I always feel like I’ve done the right thing afterwards. Best wishes πŸ™‚

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