86-100 Namiiwa, Hiratobashi-cho, Toyota

Special Exhibition
Kokeshi Doll Treasures

Kokeshi dolls are one of the signature folk toys of Japan. Opinions are divided as to their origin, but the first Kokeshi dolls are thought to have been crafted around 1800, during the late Edo period. Kokeshi dolls sold at hot spring health resorts in the Tohoku region gradually went from being considered children’s toys to being treasured as decorative pieces. They experienced a resurgence in popularity during the 1960s and 70s, and are now enjoying a third wave of popularity among a new generation of kokeshi doll fans. Young women in particular are traveling around to different production regions and collecting them as a way to enhance and beautify their lives.
There are currently eleven traditional kokeshi doll styles being crafted across the six prefectures that make up the Tohoku region, each passed down from parent to child or disciple to form an unbroken artistic lineage. The pedigree that each type of doll carries by virtue of its recorded history of creators make kokeshi unique among Japanese folk toys.
This exhibit features some five hundred kokeshi dolls categorized by style. Most of the pieces were accumulated by Japanese folk toy collectors during the late 1960s and early 1970s and later gifted to the folk museum. We hope you find joy in the unbroken traditions, unique artisan styles, and adorable expressiveness of these delightful treasures.

  • ※Left to right:
    Nanbu style: Jitsutaro Susumago,Kijiyama style: Shuichi Sato,Hijiori style: Minosuke Sato,
    Sakunami style: Masao Satomi,Naruko style: Tomegoro Honma,Yajiro style: Makoto Sato,
    Zao Takayu style: Shoichi Okazaki,Togatta style: Takeo Sato,Tsugaru style: Hidetaro Mori,
    Tsuchiyu style: Juji Seya,Yamagata style: Ei’ichiro Takasaki,Tsuchiyu style: Hiroshi Abe

  • Yajiro style:
    Kyuji Niiyama 1888-1969
    Hisashi Niiyama (son) 1915-1984
    Hisashiro Niiyama (grandson) 1942-2008

  • Tsugaru style
    Senzo Mouri (husband) 1916-2003

    Tama Mouri (wife) 1923-1988

  • Left to right
    Nobuko Ogasawara (Togatta style)
    Hyojiro Takahashi (Kijiyama style)
    Takeshi Okazaki (Sakunami style)
    Tsuneo Sakuma (Tsuchiyu style) [below]
    Fumio Kakizaki (Tsuchiyu style) [above]
    Shoichi Sato (Hijiori style)

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