|The Takasago Legend is believed to be one of the oldest
ones in Japanese mythology. It is about an old couple, Joo (Husband)
and Uba (Wife) known together as Jotomba. They are said to appear from
the misty lake of Takasago. They are usually seen very happy, talking to
each other by a pine tree, which signifies that they are a couple that
live in perfect harmony. This story has been made into a famous Noo Play
titled Takasago No Uta.
There are variations of the myth as with all myths. Curiously enough in lake Takasago an old bifurcated pine tree exist. It is believed that the spirit of the Maiden Takasago was seen by the son of Izanagi who fell in love with her and married her. They both lived to be of great age and it is said that they both died on the same date at the same time.
Because they're spirits live on in the tree, they are seen on moonlit nights when they return in human form to revisit the place of their happiness and continue their work of gathering pine needles. The old woman uses a broom sweeping away trouble and the man carries a rake to rake in good fortune.
As you may have noticed, the clothing are sometimes adorned with imges of Tsuru (cranes) and MinoGames (turtles depecited with a long tail made out of seaweed). These animals are symbolic of good fortune and longevity. Typically these types of Kokeshi and Ningyo dolls are given as wedding gifts.