Halloween attraction angers Japan doll makers

Traditional Japanese dolls lined up at the Awashima Shrine Image copyright EPA
Image caption Some of Awashima Shrine's dolls are now giving people a fright in Osaka

Japanese doll makers are unhappy about a theme park using hundreds of traditional dolls in a spooky Halloween attraction.

The Japanese Doll Association has written to Universal Studios Japan saying its haunted house makes the dolls seem "cursed or scary", and will damage the business of manufacturers and retailers, the Kyodo news agency reports. "Japanese dolls are excellent works of art. The attraction gives a wrong, negative impression of them to the general public, and also destroys traditional culture," the letter reads.

Called "Tatari: Curse of the Living Dolls", the Osaka theme park's attraction is advertised as suitable only for children over the age of 12. Anyone who dares to venture inside will find a "decaying shrine" where dolls "filled with malice" reside, the Rocket News 24 website reports. A promotional poster shows one of the dolls with blood running from its eyes.

The association is particularly unhappy that the dolls are on loan from Awashima Shrine in Wakayama, which has a huge collection donated by people across the country. Rocket News notes that the shrine itself already attracts some visitors who are interested in the supernatural. The association's letter of complaint has also been sent to the shrine.

The theme park has rejected the protest, saying it has "no legal basis" and the attraction will therefore remain open as planned until 6 November. But it added that it would take on board the association's "valuable feedback".

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