Collection: Kokeshi (Handmade Japanese Wooden Dolls)

Kokeshi dolls originated from the Tohoku regions of Japan, during the Edo period. They were handmade of wood and were called different names in different parts of Japan. Since the beginning of the Showa period, they were known as "Kokeshi こけし".

It is believed that these wooden dolls were made for children who do not have toys in the poor mountain regions. However, there are also other theories such as these dolls were used for religious purposes in a mountain village in Tohoku. 

Today, these dolls are still handmade by the artisans in 6 prefectures namely, Gunma, Aomori, Akita, Yamagata, Miyagi and Iwate. 

Usaburo Kokeshi was started by Mr. Usaburo Okamoto in 1955. He has pioneered new styles such as fusing sculpture and pyrography with brush painting. 

Usaburo Kokeshi

Today, Gunma Prefecture is the production center of creative kokeshi dolls, which boasts the highest production in Japan. The Gunma Kokeshi Cooperative was formed in the 1955s and had nearly 100 members. It is called modern kokeshi dolls as opposed to traditional kokeshi dolls in Tohoku, and is characterized by its freedom regardless of shape. The transition from a round-headed kokeshi doll to a bob-headed doll was a symbol of its flexibility. The basic shape of the kokeshi doll handcrafted by Usaburo is a plump and rounded body on the bob head.  

Usaburo Okamoto has passed on and the business is continued by his children and grandchildren. One of his grandson, Hiroyuki Okamoto has even launched his own collection "Kokechi" which appeals to the younger crowd. 

 

Wonderfullymade has been granted permission to sell Usaburo Kokeshi and the Kokechi collection.

15 products
  • Longevity Couple Set 11cm
    Longevity-Couple-Set-11-cm-Handmade-Japanese-Wooden-Doll-Usaburo-Kokeshi
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    $75.00
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    $75.00
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  • The Shy Geisha 19cm
    The-Shy-Geisha-19-cm-Front-View-Handmade-Japanese-Wooden-Doll-Usaburo-Kokeshi
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    $40.00
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    $40.00
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  • Daisho The General 13.5cm
    Daisho-The-General-13.5-cm-with-base-plate-and-backdrop-Handmade-Japanese-Wooden-Doll-Usaburo-Kokeshi
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    $125.00
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    $125.00
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