The Process of Creating the World’s Best NFT Collection—Dokyo

Murasaki BV
12 min readFeb 23, 2024



Welcome to an exploration of Dokyo’s inception, development, and the intricate nuances behind its production process from the perspective of Murasaki’s CEO, Shin.

Table of Contents

  • About Dokyo
  • Synopsis
  • Characters
  • Dokyo Core Team
  • Murasaki Production & Art Team
  • Production
  • First Decision
  • Production Flow
  • Production Tips — Traps in Production and How to Cope with Them
  • Reuniting in Tokyo — Mint

Dokyo is an NFT collection developed on the Avalanche network, which has repeatedly topped the 24-hour trading volume of all chains — recording approximately 30 million USD in January 2024.

In this article, we offer an exclusive glimpse into the behind-the-scenes of Dokyo’s production process and show you Murasaki’s involvement in the production of this prestigious project.

Mask Production Process

About Dokyo

Dokyo has roots in the Japanese language signifying “courage” and “same hometown”. Founded on the belief that everyone should have the courage to get out of their shell and pursue their dreams, Dokyo fosters an environment where individuals can reclaim their aspirations and recapture the essence of their youthful spirit.

Every Dokyo PFP wears a mask, symbolising the interplay between light and shadow within our psyche. And contrary to conventional perception, covering one’s face isn’t a sign of weakness; rather, it serves as an assertion of individuality and a path towards inner strength.


In May 2023, Murasaki sponsored and exhibited a booth at the Avalanche Summit in Barcelona. At the time, the crypto market was a challenging environment, and we were just a fledgling company — just having launched our first game service as a company (Cyberstella). However, despite financial constraints and fundraising difficulties, the team was determined to participate. Thankfully, Barcelona greeted us with sunny skies, and Shin was able to engage in discussions with numerous other attendees.

On the flip side, Shin also encountered personal challenges during the Summit due to high pollen levels, which resulted in a severe nasal blockage which even needed surgery to address the arising health problems. Such are life’s peaks and valleys.

Accompanying Shin to the Summit was Akim, the founder of VeryLongAnimals. VeryLongAnimals is a household name in Japan and is also one of the partners of Murasaki. Akim also shares friendships with Shin, and both have travelled to Korea in the past for business and also lived with Shin in the Netherlands for a while.

Akim of VeryLongAnimals guards Murasaki’s booth while Shin is away on business

It was at the Summit that Shin met Brando and Kotaro, individuals whose conversations became pivotal in Murasaki’s participation in Dokyo. It was also then that they shared their appreciation for Japanese culture and their ongoing work on a Japanese-concept NFT project.

Shin’s first message with Brando

Brando and Kotaro also talked about their recent travel to Japan, where they filmed Dokyo’s first concept movie. Here’s the video they shared with us at that time.

Regarding Japanese-themed NFTs, Shin noted that while many exist, the vast majority suffer from what he perceives as a Westernised reinterpretation, often resulting in compromised quality due to budget constraints. He likened it to being sold a bad California roll which was passed off as authentic sushi, saying that while the visuals are there, he still couldn’t shake off the feeling that authenticity was lacking.

Fortunately, when Shin was shown that video, a realisation struck him like lightning — Dokyo had the potential to break away from the crowd.

Following several discussions with Brando, a crucial decision was made: they would opt for authentic Japanese creators rather than merely conceptualising Japanese themes. Leveraging Murasaki’s existing technology for crafting NFTs, Shin then proposed assembling a team of Dokyo creators based in Japan.

Following this, Shin then reached out to Dom and through his help, successfully obtained the backing of Ava Labs to help produce Dokyo.


While the collection was made through the efforts of numerous individuals, we’ll focus on the key members involved in the creation of the collection.

Dokyo Core Team

  • Brando — Dokyo’s Founder and former hairdresser (from Canada, based in Costa Rica)
  • Kotaro — Dokyo’s Creative Director (from Hong Kong, based in Japan)
  • Bor & Izak — in charge of Dokyo’s operations (team in Eastern Europe)
  • Shin — Murasaki’s Co-Founder and Business Director (based in the Netherlands)

Murasaki Production and Art Team

  • Sasaki — Murasaki’s Co-Founder and Production Direction (based in Japan)
  • Murasawa — Murasaki’s Art Director (based in Japan)
  • Higashiyama — Murasaki’s Art Director (based in Japan)
  • Takuma — Murasaki’s Business Director and interpreter, Shin’s classmate from York University (based in Japan)
  • Searchfield Inc. — Murasaki’s partner creative studio in Japan
Searchfield’s distinguished track record of business transactions!


The First Decision

‘The First Decision’ is what you want to create. This defines the project’s direction and essence. Dokyo’s first decision was led by the team’s vision, the creation of its worldview, and its narrative trajectory.

For Dokyo, Kotaro spearheaded the development of the brand book long before the collection’s production even began.

Here’s a very early version of the brand book, detailing the direction of the collection, merchandise, development, typography, and more — all within 46 pages.

Before Murasaki even started working on the collection, Dokyo’s team already had a clear vision of their narrative and brand identity. Therefore, the next step was about refining the specifics of the collection.

At this juncture, Kotaro provided the foundational drawings and laid down the groundwork for the project’s visual direction.

Kotaro’s translation always makes it better

At this stage, the following elements are typically decided:

  • Body: Gender, skin color, and facial part variations
  • Eye, Nose, mouth, etc. / Shape and color
  • Hair (headwear): Hairstyle, hair color, and headgear
  • Clothing: Type of clothing, the color of clothing, and clothing variations
  • Items: Something to hold in the hand, etc.
  • Backgrounds: Colors, patterns, etc.
  • Special Effects: Auras, objects floating in the background, etc.
Creating the base skin

Since masks are an important part of Dokyo’s concept, we also focused on having mask variations.

Created by Kotaro

Before actually starting production, there are a multitude of decisions to be made. This includes determining the desired percentage allocation of parts for various body parts, designing the ratio of rare parts and other variations, and planning strategies for integration and engagement with the Discord community.

This stage requires meticulous planning, with the production team needing to be exceptionally precise in their design. Furthermore, these percentages would need to be adjusted regularly for marketing reasons.

A spreadsheet was used to keep track

The amount of work involved at this stage is significant, involving countless communication exchanges. Moreover, even after these decisions were finalized, the rest of the processes were far from straightforward.

Production Flow

Once the decision on what to create is made, an order form is generated for each part. This order form is used on all of the parts.

As an example, Dokyo’s frog masks.

Finished product

The process of creating this frog mask involves several stages, often subject to changes based on the feedback we receive during the drafting phase.

Progression in each phase

Here is the detailed flow:

This flow is done for all parts — totalling more than 250. It’s a daunting task, but Murasaki successfully navigated it in less than two months with the help of our exceptional team.

1) The vision team and the production team consult with each other to determine the requirements for each part.

2) The production team creates an order form

3) The order form is shared with the art team to create art

4) The art team provides a rough draft of the art

Draft phase deliverables

5) The draft is shared and reconciled with the team’s vision

Considering 3 patterns with different versions

6) Feedback is communicated back to the art team along with tuning.

Feedback control sheet for all parts

7) The deliverable is reviewed and approved by the team.

Image of the installation of the deliverable. It is significantly more beautiful than the draft.

This meticulous process is repeated for over 250 parts, each with a color differential. Completing this task in less than two months is a testament to Murasaki’s dedication and efficiency. It’s worth noting that many companies, driven by cost considerations, often halt their process at stages 4 or 5 and may forego utilising purchase orders entirely.

That said, there is a significant disparity in quality depending on whether the entire process is completed. This comprehensive process is vital for ensuring that a project is taken seriously for what it represents.

And while the original last step involved developing the PFP by matching the parts, Bor’s team independently handled this task for Dokyo, and due to the intricacies of this process, we won’t elaborate further for now.

Production TipsTraps in Production and How to Cope with Them

At Dokyo, we’ve learned a thing or two about navigating the production process effectively. Hence, we’d like to share some insights on how to proceed in order to ensure the smooth production of high-quality creative work, a topic we don’t often touch on.

Long story short, our experience has shown that communication plays a critical role, accounting for 90% of the reasons why production may encounter challenges despite having talented creators and an attractive vision.

1) Fostering Common Understanding

One of the primary challenges in production is establishing a common understanding between the business/marketing team and the production/art team, especially when there is no shared language.

In such cases, it becomes imperative for our production director (Sasaki) and art directors (Murasawa and Higashiyama) to effectively bridge this gap.

For instance, the vision team often requested the “eyes of the mask to shine” in response to rough drafts submitted by the production team.

Director Sasaki making an effort to create a common understanding

While it’s feasible to make individual masks glow, aligning with the project’s overarching vision requires a different approach. Therefore, it was crucial to cultivate a shared understanding that redefines the mask itself as a sentient lifeform with a distinct will, something that conforms to Dokyo’s narrative and worldview.

After reaching a common understanding, feedback can then be relayed to the art team in a manner that resonates with their expertise and comprehension.

Here, a request to “make the mask’s eyes shine” translates into “increase the overall luminescence of the coloring, especially emphazising the brightness of the eyes”.

The result will then look like this:

There is life in the mask

This challenge isn’t merely a language barrier but rather a divide between marketing/business and production/development. Without addressing it effectively, projects can encounter significant bottlenecks and setbacks, sometimes even leading to major disruptions. Unfortunately, such instances are not uncommon.

Projects that experience such delays often do so not because of ill intentions, but due to communication breakdowns leading to inefficient resource allocation. Only through consistent and clear communication can a project be successfully navigated to completion, resulting in a polished and refined end product.

Such exchanges have gone back and forth countless times

2) Matching Production Cultures

An observation that became apparent as we worked on the project was the stark contrast in production cultures between the West and Japan.

In Japanese creative culture, the ordering side meticulously outlines their requirements. Clients possess a deep understanding of the creative process and put down detailed instructions on how they want the work to be done. For this reason, they prepare thorough and comprehensive order forms.

In contrast, the Western creative process typically revolves around a great vision, with the creative team tasked with articulating and integrating this vision into the project requirements.

Differences between Japanese and Western Production Scopes

This is an extreme example, but it’s not uncommon for us to encounter requests from North American projects seeking estimates for producing animated films. However, unless we inquire about specifics such as the duration per episode, the number of episodes and seasons planned, and whether the animation will be action-packed or more narrative-driven, clients often fail to provide detailed requirements.

Interestingly, the unit production cost, inclusive of the scope of requirement definition, tends to be higher in North America. More often than not, deal breakdowns stem from cultural differences rather than language barriers when dealing with overseas projects.

The dilemma arises from the fact that North American clients expect everything to be meticulously planned once funds are provided. Conversely, the Japanese production side insists on ironing out the details of what they aim to create before commencing production.

It’s not about one side being right or wrong; rather, both sides must align their cultural perspectives to foster successful collaboration and deliver exceptional results.

To bridge this gap, regular meetings involving creative staff from both parties have to be done, all the while soliciting beneficial feedback. Additionally, having our director confirm the vision as we progress helped to ensure alignment.

After all, it’s not uncommon for projects initially believed to be well-understood by both parties to diverge significantly, far from the client’s initial vision, once production begins.

3) Speak Up

While language barriers can pose challenges, the key to success lies in aligning the vision and production. To ensure this alignment, we hold meetings several times a week to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

However, distant locations and challenging time differences often lead to sacrifices, typically affecting our European operations — a significant challenge we’ve had to grapple with.

Finding common time through different timezones

The catalyst for project disruptions often stems from strained relationships between teams. In such instances, reluctance to communicate results in minimal interaction, escalating transaction costs and creating an atmosphere where crucial discussions are often not done.

Fortunately, with Dokyo, both the vision and production/art teams adopted a proactive approach, prioritizing thorough discussions to address uncertainties and challenges head-on.

While achieving a completely harmonious work environment is unrealistic, it’s crucial to acknowledge and address issues constructively. Rather than dwelling on shortcomings, open communication can help smooth things out. By collectively focusing on achieving the project’s vision and seeking solutions to current challenges, we can overcome obstacles and achieve success.

Reuniting in TokyoMint

During the summer, Shin had the pleasure of reuniting with the Dokyo team in Tokyo. Shin shared many memorable moments with Brando and Kotaro, from laughter in Shibuya to donning Dokyo shirts at a bar in Takadanobaba.

Shin (left), Brando (right) and Kotaro (camera) laughing in Shibuya
Dokyo shirt to a bar in Takadanobaba

After their time together, they eventually went back to their respective locations and began preparing for the mint. While Murasaki played a pivotal role, much of the groundwork was laid by the core team’s unwavering dedication to crafting a compelling narrative leading up to the sale.

In September, Dokyo’s mint was met with resounding success and managed to sell out completely.

We at Murasaki are immensely proud to have been a part of such an exceptional team, and we are all genuinely thrilled to have contributed to making this project one of the best in the world.

However, Dokyo’s journey has only just begun. We continue to anticipate their future developments and growth. To cap it off, here is Kotaro’s summary of the results of our creative processes.

Murasaki’s journey with Dokyo stands as an example of the power of collaboration, perseverance, and innovation in the ever-evolving world of NFTs. As we celebrate our successes, we remain dedicated to pushing our boundaries and helping shape the future of art and technology — no bad California rolls this time.



Murasaki BV

Murasaki BV - A blockchain game & creative media studio that specializes in Japanese games, anime media, NFTs, and manga.