Kokeshi

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Kokeshi are wooden dolls from northern Japan in the region including the present Sendai and Miyagi prefectures.
These pretty statues appeared during Edo period (1600-1868).
They were originally sold as souvenirs to visitors of onsen (hot springs) in the area. Since several years they are very popular overseas and now they are used to decorate room...

Kokeshi are wooden dolls from northern Japan in the region including the present Sendai and Miyagi prefectures.
These pretty statues appeared during Edo period (1600-1868).
They were originally sold as souvenirs to visitors of onsen (hot springs) in the area. Since several years they are very popular overseas and now they are used to decorate rooms, both in Japan and abroad.
All our Kokeshi are made and hand painted in Japan.

What are the types of Kokeshi?

A real kokeshi doll is always in wood, hand-painted and handmade.

There are many cheap fake kokeshi (but sold at a high price) in plastic and made by machines in China or Korea. Sellers often over-use the term kokeshi although they have no direct relationship with the original kokeshi.

There are two kinds of real kokeshi :

* Dento kokeshi:
This is the traditional version that respects shapes and colors defined for centuries and which is still produced in the same region of Tohoku. They are usually made entirely from dogwood.

* Shingata kokeshi:
This is a modern version that appeared in the early 50s. Artists have a great freedom regarding shapes and colors. These are today's very popular models because they are generally more elaborate and colorful.

Manufacturing

Most models are composed by two parts, one representing the body and the other one the head. However, you can find some shingata composed of only one piece.
Kokeshi Manufacturing

Wood selection plays a vital role in the quality of these items. Dogwood, which is both hard and flexible is almost always used at least partly for the manufacture of shingata. The artisans also sometimes use other quality woods such as chestnut wood and cherry wood.
Once the type of wood is selected, small logs are cut and the head and body are carved separately using a lathe.
Once carved into the desired shapes, parts are finely polished in order to get a surface as smooth as possible and a perfect finish.
The next step is the painting process. Again both parts are painted separately by hand. Once dry they are covered with a wax layer that enhances shine and durability. When the head and body are joined together, it marks the final step of the assembly process.

We assure you the best wrapping and packing for your fragile items. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question.

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