Japanese Kokeshi Dolls: The Woodcraft and Culture of Japan’s Iconic Wooden Dolls (


Get an inside look at Japanese kokeshi dolls: their skilled makers, the devastation their home region has faced and a travel guide so you can get up close to these beloved pieces. Kokeshi are the simple and charming traditional Japanese dolls, characterized by their cylindrical shape and lack of arms and legs, carved from wood that are historically made in Japan’s remote northern region of Tohoku. Crafted individually by artisans in bucolic mountainous villages, no two dolls are the same, and their imperfections are one of the appealing aspects of this folk craft. Though they originally started as children’s toys made from scraps of wood, kokeshi dolls have become a popular collector’s item and have even inspired manga and anime characters. Kokeshi expert Manami Okazaki has carried out extensive research for this comprehensive guide to everything you ever wanted to know about kokeshi dolls-from history, production methods, types of doll, and trends. Through interviews with artists, gorgeous photos and firsthand travel experience, Okazaki includes detailed information about both traditional dolls and the modern ones being crafted today. In this book, readers will find: A guide to visiting Japan’s kokeshi regions Information on how to buy the dolls-either directly from the Japanese makers or stockists worldwide The work of 2 U.S.-based kokeshi artisans Interviews with leading Japanese craftsmen Answers to common questions about kokeshi An exploration of the cultural significance of these dolls How they’ve become a sort of mascot for their devastated home region of Fukushima.

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Ozakazi, Manami