A wind-up doll from the 1830s made by inventor Hisashige Tanaka performs “kakizome” (the first calligraphy writing of the new year) in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Jan. 2. (Video taken by Ryuta Kuratomi)

KURUME, Fukuoka Prefecture--A 180-year-old wind-up doll in kimono performed the “kakizome” ritual Jan. 2--the first calligraphy writing of the new year.

The male doll, its face painted white and with a sword tucked into its obi, was produced by Hisashige Tanaka (1799-1881), an inventor known as the “Thomas Edison of the East” who lived in Kurume.

The doll was cheered by a crowd each time it finished writing a kanji character.

Using an ink brush, it wrote the kanji for “kotobuki” (longevity), “matsu” (pine), “take” (bamboo) and “ume” (Japanese apricot).

It took about 15 seconds to write each character.

Tanaka was inventing left, right and center from the twilight years of the Edo Period (1603-1867) through the early Meiji Era (1868-1912).

He built steam engines and cannons with technology introduced from the West and was one of the co-founders of major electric appliance maker Toshiba Corp.

The wind-up doll that performed kakizome was produced in the 1830s. The Kurume city government purchased the doll in July 2017 from a collector in Kanagawa Prefecture, and this was its first public appearance.

“I am proud that such a great person lived in Kurume,” said Yasuyuki Suzuki, 40, a company employee, who came to the event with his family.