Do you know of or maybe have seen the Japanese wooden dolls? These dolls are desinged really simple, with no arms or legs. Perhaps, if you look at a picture, you will recognise them!
So, what are they called in Japanese? They are called “Kokeshi”. The first “Kokeshi” came from Togatta Onsen (Zao area) but with time these dolls spread into other areas of northern Japan. Each town in Japan has developed its own style of “Kokeshi”. Now there are about 11 types of “Kokeshi” in Japan, and they all have specific names.
As I said before, these dolls are handmade, and are always made of wood. The body of these dolls has a floral print in various colors, such as red, black, and sometimes yellow. At the bottom part, there is a signature of the maker/artist. There are many kinds of the wood that is usually used for making “Kokeshi”. It is typically made of the dark cherry tree or lighter mizuki tree. Some of them are also covered in a layer of wax.
Do you like the shape of these dolls? I, for instance, like everything about them. They symbolize Japan, I think. I have bought one before, and it is not really as expensive as I thought. The regular sized ones cost anywhere from 3000 to 5000 yen. They are lovely and are perfect for putting on the desk, they make me feel like I am in Japan whenever I am.
These dolls can also make great souvenirs for your family or friends when you visit Japan. There are many collectors of these dolls, they have special shelves dedicated to their “Kokeshi”. If you love Japan, I highly recommend you to get one and put it on your desk to feel like you’re in Japan at all times.