The current popularity of Blythe dolls in Japan almost makes you forget that this toy was neither invented there nor that it is actually a new doll brand. Blythe originated in the US and was first only produced in 1972, but that all changed around the year 2000 when Blythe was discovered as a fashion doll. Since then dozens of new editions of Neo Blythe dolls have been sold and and the doll has been featured in books, magazines, advertising and exhibitions. As a fashion doll it is a popular “canvas” for professional and hobbyist fashion designers, resulting in a large community of Blythe enthusiasts in Asia and internationally.
To celebrate the 9th anniversary of the introduction of the modern Blythe doll there is currently (beginning of July 2010) a special charity exhibition of designer Blythe dolls in the posh Omotesandō Hills mall in Aoyama, Tokyo. So I went to this Blythe 9th Anniversary Charity Exhibition which has the motto “Manga Girls Inspiration” to take photos of styled Blythe dolls dressed up as chic and cute characters from Japan’s pop culture of anime and manga. However, most of the dolls were wearing regular Japanese fashion brands, but there was also the 5th Annual Blythe Beauty contest of customized dolls from fans from around the world.
The Blythe charity doll "Why is she carrying roses on her back?" by the singer/performer/tarento Chiaki (千秋).
The "Dark Marchen Girl" Blythe doll beauty contest entry from the team L'Ange noir.
The Blythe dolls outfitted by the gothic lolita fashion labels Baby, the Stars Shine Bright (left) and Angelic Pretty (right).
A Felix the Cat Blythe doll designed by Michiru und Over the Stripes.
The Queen of Heart's Tea Time Blythe doll.
Yoyamart's Icicle Princess Blythe doll.
Fairy*Kitten messie's¹ 6%TOKIDOKI (left) and Anna Chambers Blythe dolls (right).
The Blythe doll designed by FREDDY TAN (Dollz Inc Pte Ltd).
The Blythe doll beauty contest entry "Ayu's Sunday" by Atelier Nina.
The Blythe dolls created by Hello Kitty Designer Yūko Yamaguchi (山口裕子) and *Soleil* (right).
The Q-pot Blythe doll.
The Manowar jellyfish Blythe doll by Mociun (left) and the Ports 1961 Blythe doll (right).
The Blythe dolls designed by J&COMPANY (left) and Laundry (right).
Gothic lolita Blythe dolls wearing Victorian Maiden (left) and Liz Lisa (right) apparel.
Blythe dolls created by Milly (left) and Earth Music & Ecology.
The Miho Matsuda (left) and Tibi (right) Blythe dolls.
The Blythe doll twins Trixie Belle and Moxie Belle designed by Junie Moon.
A Blythe doll by Aketsun! (あけつん！) displaying a stereotypical manga artist with black turtleneck and beret.
The Blythe doll Patty by Michiko Yamada (山田美智子) is wearing a "Vicky the Viking" cosplay (left) while the pile-poil! Blythe doll was inspired by Little My of Moomin Valley.
Another Junie Moon Blythe doll cosplaying みつばちハッチ (Hutch the Honeybee).
The Blythe doll by Ichigoya (苺家) displaying Akko-chan from Fujio Akatsuka (赤塚不二夫)'s "ひみつのアッコちゃん" (Akko-chan's Secret).
A Blythe doll by designer Kenta Shibusawa (渋沢健太) on the left and a Tokyo Alice (東京アリス) doll on the right.
An Alice and the Pirates Blythe doll (left) next to a doll created by Kenichi Koyama (こやまけにち).
A doll designed by beans+ (Studio-UOO!) and a Hysteric Mini Blythe doll (right).
The kobana_sweet_graphic Blythe doll called Shino.
A Princess Doll Blythe doll (left) and an Emily Temple cute Blythe doll (right).
Blythe dolls wearing outfits by h.NAOTO (left) and Metamorphose temps de file (right).
Noriya Takeyama and Piko Piko collaborated to create a monster Blythe doll (left) while the one on the right was made by Devil-Pockets (Shinichiro Kitai & Ayumi Urayama).
A Blythe doll in a colorful Tokidoki dress walking Bastardino the cactus dog (left) and a Blythe doll by Naito Yamada (やまだないと) displaying a manga artist wearing many stereotypical berets.
The Alfort Blythe doll.
The Blythe doll beauty constest entry Brander May by Majokko Seisaku Iinkai (魔女っこ制作委員会).
The Blythe doll Wild Rose by M for Monkey is an entry for the 2010 beauty contest.
Another Blythe beauty contest participant by Tomoko Katayama (片山智子) with her doll Rose of Versailles.
Cojicoji & Camomo (古事古辞＆花桃) created this Little Witch Blythe doll for the beauty contest.
The team Hitorishizuka (一人静) made this Little Angel Blythe doll as their beauty contest entry.
The Rainbow Witch Blythe doll for the beauty contest created by Pon Pon Pretties.
The steampunk-inspired Time Traveler Jade Blythe doll by the American team Feonalita and MixiMichi.
The beauty contest entry Blythe doll Doramico-chan by Boutique Buri.
The White Cat Girl CHELSEA! is Apurico's Blythe doll for the beauty contest.
Heart E's Candy Blythe doll (left) and Bubujojo's doll (right).
The Blythe dolls designed by LeLe Junie Moon (left) and Saki Yamashita (right).
Miou's Ms. Fish Hand Blythe doll accompanied by red rabbits.
A bell lyre-playing Blythe doll by Imai Kira & Uran & Hiroko (left) and a Koritsu Factory doll on the right.
The Blythe doll Dorarita by Mindtrigger (left) and a needlework Blythe doll by K･Q･B (right).
An Evangelion-inspired doll by Muchacha (left) and a weird Blythe doll by Kenzo (Studio-UOO!).
Excentrique's pirate motif Blythe doll (left) and a black Dark Princess Knight doll by SMASH! (right).
At the event a small store provided tons of Blythe dolls and merchandise to prospective buyers.
A different look at the Blythe dolls of the exhibition in Omotesando Hills.