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What are the types of Kokeshi?

Although many copies of Kokeshi exist, they are generally of lower quality, plastic, and industrially manufactured. Relatively different from traditional Kokeshi, they are however sold at high prices and often come from China or Korea. Thus, it will be preferable to focus on the acquisition of an artisanal doll, whose creation and symbolism are much more authentic.

A real Kokeshi doll is always made of wood, made and painted by hand. There are many types of Japanese Kokeshi, whose variations depend on the regions of creation, colors or design chosen by the craftsman. There are two main categories of Kokeshi:

The Kokeshi Dento

This is the traditional version of Kokeshi. The craftsman respects shapes and colors defined for several centuries and these dolls are always manufactured in the same region. Their design is rather simple and the colors are few. In general, Dento Kokeshi are made entirely of dogwood.

The Kokeshi Shingata

This is a more modern version of Kokeshi, which appeared in the early 1950s. The craftsmen have great freedom in the choice of shapes and colors of these dolls. Today they are popular models that are generally more worked, more colorful and sometimes refer to other themes of Japanese culture.


Kokeshi is defined by the assembly of two major parts, one representing the body and the other the head. However, there are some Shingata Kokeshi composed of only one piece.

Kokeshi Manufacturing

Wood selection plays a key role in the quality of these objects. Dogwood, both very hard and flexible wood, is still used for making Shingata. Artisans also sometimes use other quality woods such as chestnut or cherry wood. After selecting the wood, small logs are cut, then the head and body are carved separately using a lathe and special tools. Once the desired sculpture is obtained, the different pieces are polished very finely in order to have a smooth surface and a perfect finish.

The next step is the painting of the doll. Again, both parts are painted separately and by hand. Once dried, they are covered with a layer of wax that enhances their luster and durability.

Finally, the last step in making a Kokeshi is assembling the head and body.


We guarantee you a protected packaging for sending your Kokeshi dolls. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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