A top manufacturer offers a wide range of mannequins


Japanese shop windows are distinctive. The gorgeous displays change with the seasons, but mannequins always play a key role. There are approximately 30 mannequin manufacturers in Japan that have been competing against each other over the years, using superb techniques and creativity to produce commercially attractive and artistically rendered mannequins. Store displays have come to resemble each other more in recent years, so the challenge is to create displays that stand out. A top manufacturer offers a wide range of mannequins that put the products on display in the most favourable light.


 Abstract mannequins



Established 70 years ago, NANASAI CO., LTD is one of the largest firms in the business. It excels in producing realistic mannequins, meticulously rendered to look like real humans, only more beautiful. Last year, it sealed an agreement with BONAVERI, a top Italian mannequin manufacturer, for exclusive distribution rights for the latter’s Schläppi mannequins, one of the foremost high-quality abstract mannequins in the world. It is also the Japanese representative for French firm Stockman’s torsos.


NANASAI’s new realistic mannequin offering NEU combines the features of the expressionless abstract mannequin and the realistic mannequin. By having the form of the hair sculpted into the head, NEU has true presence even without make-up. Adding make-up and a wig accentuates its powerful, lifelike features. An abstract alternative head broadens the scope of display options.


The TECHNE series is NANASAI’s latest offering of abstract mannequins. Inspired by a popular Japanese techno pop unit, it is distinguished by its striking and supple poses and the delicate expressiveness of the hands. Mannequins from the TECHNE series have a distinctive feel created by such features as their translucent, marble-like texture produced by a mixture of resin and fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) and leather-like resin sheet and mirror sheet covers.



Technique & perseverance producing exquisite workmanship



Heiwa Mannequin Co., Ltd. is another major player excelling in realistic mannequins. It formed a business partnership with Belgian manufacturer John Nissen Mannequins in 1977. In 1981, it acquired an equity share in John Nissen, which was renamed New John Nissen Mannequins.

Heiwa Mannequin’s flagship realistic mannequin series Della launched in 2013, and is the work of Tsutomu Jinushi, the firm’s top mannequin sculptor (an artist who sculpts clay moulds for mannequins). According to the firm, Mr. Jinushi’s work is distinguished by its “expression of the spiritual qualities of Japanese women, their tenderness and receptiveness.”


There is a wide range of poses available because of the upper and lower bodies as well as arms that can be detached and combined in many different patterns. Heiwa Mannequin emphasises that the exquisite finish that allows the components to fit together regardless of shape “cannot be produced without superb technique and perseverance.” The painstaking finish provided by its make-up artists gives the mannequins a gorgeous expressiveness.



Artisanship & wit


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TOMANE CO., LTD. is a respected mannequin manufacturer with roots in Eitokusai, a top manufacturer of artistic dolls with a history that goes back to 1853.

TOMANE has a reputation for its handcrafting skills which are rooted in traditional Japanese culture and are maintained to this day. In 2015, the firm became the official Japanese representative for Genesis Display, the German mannequin manufacturer.


The TOMANE mannequins are distinguished by the precise, abstract expressiveness rooted in the sophisticated modelling skills required to create realistic mannequins. TOMANE emphasizes that “abstract expression is almost impossible unless we continue to pursue realism.”

“SUMO WRESTLER,” the latest work rolled out by the firm, reaffirms its superb artisanship in a feat that other manufacturers would perhaps never attempt.


The miniature clay model was sculpted by Hisaoki Iwashita, the president of the firm. This formed the basis of the work on the life-sized clay model in the corporate atelier. Over 200kg of clay was used to give it a massive feel, while a fighting pose unique to sumo wrestlers added a playful touch. The firm describes SUMO WRESTLER as “the fruit of the company’s devotion to working by hand and its humour.”



Sportswear targeting the Tokyo Olympics



ROSA CO., LTD. is focusing on mannequins for sportswear aimed at the Tokyo Olympic Games to be held in 2020. Last year, it rolled out two series, STRETCH LIFE and STEP STREET DANCE, and expects to see demand for a less expensive series as well.


The two series are distinguished by the forsaking of the usual FRP (fibre reinforced plastics) for the material of the mannequins, instead going with urethane. The neck, torso, arms, legs, and fingers all move, enabling the mannequins to strike a variety of poses. Another feature is the stand that supports the mannequin.


Jointed on two axes, horizontal and vertical, angles can be adjusted freely, every which way from standing straight to upside down. This makes it possible to meet the made-to-order demands of individual customers while developing mannequins for sportswear.



Maintaining a fresh look with rental services


Mannequins need clay moulds that require the time and painstaking work of sculpture artists, which make them expensive to produce. But in Japan, there is a system in place that eases the high costs that customers would otherwise have to bear. Mannequins are available for reasonable fees through rental services, thus helping to keep initial costs down. Manufacturers also provide maintenance as well as storage and disposal.


Major manufacturers have staffed sales branches nationwide, while proprietary logistics systems enable them to deliver the right products at the right time. This system, which is unique to Japan, helps to keep displays in shop windows and elsewhere fresh.