A Japanese Kokeshi doll is a simple stylized doll that is generally sold to tourists in Japan. Kokeshi dolls are wooden dolls painted that is painted bright colors, with a shiny finish. These dolls originated in Japanese island of Honshu. Frequently seen in photos, these dolls have a charm all of their own that makes many want to own at least one. Even those who are not doll collectors may like to have kokeshi doll.
Traditional Kokeshi dolls originated approximately two hundred years ago in the middle of the Edo period. The dolls were first produced in the north east area of Japan, named Tohoku region. It is actually that woodwork artisans of Japan known as Kijiya originally specialized in wooden household utensils cups and bowls made them. Then they started making small dolls in the winter to sell to the tourists who comes there. The few people who want to take memories buy the Kokeshi dolls as a souvenir. Some buy this believing that it would give them good harvest and it was also believed that it would create a positive impression on the gods if children played with the Kokeshi dolls.
While the Traditional Kokeshi shows a similar kind of style and character, creative Kokeshi are almost different in terms of shape, design and color. It is unpredictable imagination of the individual artist who creates these small works of art. Creative Kokeshi are very new, it got developed after World War II. Creative Kokeshi are made in different regions of Japan. In fact, while many traditional Kokeshi artists are located in more rural areas, creative Kokeshi artists are located in the cities. Traditional Kokeshi use a similar pattern in each doll, creative Kokeshi creates different style for each doll. Creative Kokeshi use unique techniques to make such beautiful dolls, such as engraving and baking. The result of these innovative techniques creates an attractive and beautiful doll.
The difference between traditional and creative kokeshi dolls are:
There are 11 types of Kokeshi dolls. The types of shapes and designs featured on a Kokeshi doll point to the area of Japan where it was produced. The most common Kokeshi doll is the Naruko made in the Miyagi Prefecture.