What are kokeshi? Kokeshi are wooden peg-style dolls. They are handmade from cherry or dogwood and painted with a simple facial design and a floral design on the body to represent robes. Once painted, they are sealed with a layer of lacquer or wax to protect the designs. Though the originals were intended as children's toys, they are a popular collectible item. New kokeshi art dolls are constantly being designed and produced for collectors to enjoy.
Vintage Japanese wooden kokeshi dolls
It can be interesting to collect traditional kokeshi. Learn about the different styles which are available.
This style of doll originated during the Edo period (1600 to 1868) in Northern Japan. The first kokeshi dolls were created as souvenirs for those who visited the hot springs in the region. The design was based on the simple one-piece wooden dolls enjoyed by peasant children.
After World War II, the art form blossomed and spread through all Japan. The traditional forms were expanded, and new styles were developed as the kokeshi became increasingly prevalent in popular culture.
Kokeshi fabric by the yard
|Yui Kokeshi Dolls On Pink Fabric One Yard (0.9m) 6757A Pink|
Kokeshi on pink background.
|Adorable Japanese Kokeshi Dolls: Ginger Asian Japanese Fabric (1/2 yd)|
Kokeshi on yellow background (1/2 yard).
|Alexander Henry Indochine Kiki Kokeshi Natural/Multi Fabric By The Yard|
Kokeshi on beige background.
|Alexander Henry Indochine Kiki Kokeshi Wheat/Plum Fabric By The Yard|
Plum kokeshi on wheat background.
|Dolls Fabric - Kokeshi Dolls in Spring Green by pinkowlet - Dolls Fabric with Spoonflower - Print...|
Kokeshi on green background.
Types of traditional kokeshi dolls
Naruko kokeshi dolls
Naruko kokeshi are one of the older types of kokeshi from which others draw inspiration. They can be identified by their cylindrical squared-shouldered bodies marked with a chrysanthemum pattern.
Togatta kokeshi dolls
The Togatta kokeshi are remarkable for being large-headed and unstable in an area prone to earthquakes. The body is extremely narrow by comparison and is marked with floral designs. The nose is an inverted v-shape.
Zao takayu kokeshi dolls
Zao takayu kokeshi are typically described as "stout" or "stocky". They have large heads and short bodies with a flared bottom. The distinguishing feature of these kokeshi is the long drooping nose painted on the face.
Hijiori kokeshi dolls
Hijiori kokeshi can be distinguished by their large heads and squared shoulders. They frequently have floral patterns down the body and clearly defined eyes.
Kijiyama kokeshi dolls
Kijiyama kokeshi can be identified by their distinctive narrow long faces and bob-style haircuts. They are painted as though they are wearing patterned aprons over their kimono.
Yajiro kokeshi dolls
The defining feature of the Yajiro kokeshi doll is the wasp-waist design of the body. The head is large by comparison and is painted to wear a skullcap.
Tsuchiyu kokeshi dolls
Tsuchiyu kokeshi are known for having small heads and narrow bodies with a flared bottom. The body is painted around with a striped pattern.
Sakunami kokeshi dolls
Sakunami kokeshi dolls can be distinguished by the large heads with a single straight hair at the top of the head. Their bodies are quite narrow by comparison to the head.
Yamagata kokeshi dolls
The Yamagata kokeshi are similar in design to the Sakunami kokeshi with a large head and narrow body. The body is painted with floral designs.