The secrets of the cuteness behind kokeshi dolls

These traditional wooden Japanese dolls called kokeshi are secretly populr among Japanese girls. Though they're all called kokeshi, there are many kinds. Learn about the kokeshi doll's charms!


Japanese Culture




Two characteristics of kokeshi are their colorful design and their almond shaped eyes.

What are kokeshi?

Kokeshi?(こけし?kokeshi?), are?Japanese?dolls, originally from northern?Japan. They are handmade from wood, have a simple trunk and an enlarged head with a few thin, painted lines to define the face. The body has a floral design painted in red, black, and sometimes yellow, and covered with a layer of wax. One characteristic of kokeshi dolls is their lack of arms or legs. The bottom is marked with the signature of the artist.

Originally kokeshi were children's toys, but they have spread throughout Japan as a traditional crafts.
These colorful dolls are very popular and loved by many girls.

There are many kinds of kokeshi!

Kokeshi take on many shapes. They also change depending on area of production.

Tsuchiyu Kokeshi


The characteristics of this doll is a small head and a narrow trunk, along with droopy eyes and a goldfish mouth.
The trunk is typically striped.

Yajirou Kokeshi


On top of their hat-like hairstyles they have small hair ornaments. They characteristically have striped trunks with cuffs and necklines showing that they're wearing kimono. These are one of the more colorful type of kokeshi.

Tougatta Kokeshi


It's typical for these dolls to have red patterns radiating on their heads and flower patterns on their bodies.

Naruko Kokeshi

If we're talking about kokeshi, Naruko kokeshi are produced so often that "Naruko" can be considered a synonym for kokeshi. If you turn the heads, they'll make a squeaking sound.

Kokeshi goods have evolved!

Though kokeshi themselves are popular, their booming popularity is helped by drawings and illustrations of them.
There are many goods with kokeshi motifs.

Matchbook with a kokeshi design


This matchbox has a slightly surreal kokeshi drawn on it.

Doraemon Kokeshi


Everyone loves Doraemon! These kokeshi don't change the proportions of the anime character.

Until the doll is finished

Though making cute kokeshi is a traditional Japanese craft, the craftsmen not only make them but also enjoy the process.

A video on making Tougatta kokeshi

The kokeshi is made of wood carefully shaved from trees. If you look at the length, the cuteness increases.

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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