Legend has it that in the late 1990’s Volks sculptor Akihiro Enku gave his wife the gift of a cast-resin, ball-jointed doll sculpted by him for her birthday. This gift was the predecessor for the first Super Dollfies that were released the following year.
“Mrs. Setsu Shigeta, the executive director of VOLKS INC, came up with the idea to present customers with a beautiful doll that people can take into their arms as their special one. Today, SD is different from this doll in its structure and appearance. VOLKS keeps presenting SDs to you like a special present from a husband to a wife.”
Image & Text source: The Super Dollfie Encyclopedia 2006
In general terms a Super Dollfie is a Volks ball jointed doll in the 1/3 sizing… but there’s really much more to the history of the term than just the literal definition! Volks Inc. originated the term (and legally owns it!) by putting together the terms “figure” and “doll” into “Dollfie”.
Simply put a “dollfie” can be a doll of any of the Volks lines and they come in numerous styles and come in the 1/6 size much like a standard Barbie doll. Dollfie lines are available on the Volks International web site but were discontinued at Volks USA with the closure of their physical sumika and relaunch of their online retail shop in 2014. The term “Super Dollfie” was developed to describe the first incarnation of the SD10 doll which (at the time) was one of the first to stand at a staggering 23 inches.
Due to popularity of its first form, the physical embodiment of Super Dollfie has grown to encompass many different shapes and sizes of doll:
Most collectors are quick to point out that although many Japanese ball jointed dolls are called “dollfies” in the popular vernacular this term should only be applied to specifically Volks dolls!
On a more personal note I would invite you to think about Super Dollfie not only as a toy or piece of art but also as a cultural phenomenon. In Japan it is common to think of there being a “Super Dollfie Lifestyle” in which fans participate in many company sponsored events and personally organized meet-ups . More on this when I tackle the numerous events and scheduling in the Super Dollfie world!