As you can conclude based on its name, a ball-jointed doll is a doll that has joints made from balls and sockets.
Today, the most popular ball-jointed dolls are those hailing from Asian. In fact, if you use acronyms such as BJD, most doll enthusiasts will think that you’re actually referring to the Asian version of the product.
What are they made of and where?
Hard plastic known as polyurethane synthetic resin is used for their creation. Individual parts are connected together with an elastic material. Most of these dolls are made in Asia, or to be precise, Japan, China, and South Korea. They are closely connected to the culture of this region and in particular, anime.
How long are ball-jointed dolls?
Most ball-jointed dolls are between 60 centimeters (24 inches) and 40 centimeters (15.5 inches) long. Keep in mind that these are standard-sized products; there are also miniature versions which can be as little as 10 centimeters (4 inches). Given the big number of details and lots of delicate parts, they are made primarily for collectors. They are also easy to customize providing enthusiasts with lots of fun activities.
These dolls date back to 1999 when Volks company created Super Dollfie. Although dolls such as this gained lots of popularity in certain circles, most people still refer to them as just BJD or ABJD.
Short history of BJD dolls
The interesting thing about ball-jointed dolls is that they are one of the oldest types of dolls.
Articulated dolls first appeared 200 years before Christ when Greeks and Romans used clay and wood for their creation. Like most other modern dolls, first modern BJD appeared in Western Europe. During the 19th and 20th century, lots of French and German companies started creating bisque dolls. Materials such as sawdust, glue, pulp were used for them and they could be between 15 and 100 centimeters (6 to 40 inches). These models are today highly popular collectibles which can go for up to several thousands of dollars during auctions.
These dolls also found their way to the art scene. In 1930, Hans Bellmer started using BJD for photography and other forms of artistic work. The images were meant to be playful and intriguing. His impact can be sensed up to this day in Japan where people still use them when doing photography.
As previously mentioned, some of the first modern ball-jointed dolls were created by the Japanese Volks company. Their Dollfie was 57 centimeters tall and it used polyurethane resin as the main material. Interestingly enough, the same item was the main product by Volks company at that time. In a sense, they managed to create a real hit in the doll’s world by using their own substances.
Connection to Anime, Korea and China
Anime played a huge role in how BJDs evolved. Most of these products had inspiration in popular anime movies and series and as the movement started growing, some popular Japanese anime artists even took part in their creation.
South Koreans weren’t far behind. Customhouse and Cerberus Project are regarded as some of the best Korean companies producing these items. Between 2002 and 2003, they are present on the local market and after a while, they became a global phenomenon.
Like with most similar items, first BJD dolls that Chinese produced were actually replicas of popular Japanese and Korean products. Some of them were directly replicated part by part while others added a small modification that made them a bit different.
In most cases, lower quality materials were used for their production which resulted in lower price and as expected, lower quality of the product. After some time, Chinese companies started creating their own unique items. Dollzone, which most experts regard as the first one, is still one of the most popular brands on the Chinese market for this particular product.
Ball-jointed dolls are quite incredible.
If you browse the internet, there are lots of great items to choose from. This is especially thrilling for collectors as you can find some amazing pieces at an affordable price.
Hopefully, you will enjoy your next BJD!