Japanese Kokeshi Dolls

Current Stock:
Tuttle Publishing
Hardcover, Jacketed
Date Published:
full-color throughout with over 350 photographs
Number of Pages:
Trim Size:
8 X 8

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 figures.

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 began 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.

This comprehensive guide by kokeshi expert Manami Okazaki tells everything there is to know about kokeshi dolls—from history to production methods and types of dolls to current trends. Through interviews with artists, gorgeous photos and firsthand travel experience, Okazaki presents detailed information about both traditional and modern styles of dolls being crafted today.

This comprehensive survey includes:
  • A guide to visiting Japan's most-famous 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 dolls
  • An exploration of the cultural significance of these dolls
  • How they've become a sort of mascot for their devastated home region of Fukushima

About the Author:
Manami Okazaki has published twelve books on Japanese culture including Kokeshi, From Tohoku with Love. Her journalism has been featured in the Japan Times, Wall Street Journal, South China Morning Post, Lonely Planet, Transit and other global media outlets. She has written extensively about the Tohoku region and curated kokeshi events in London, Paris, Rome and Los Angeles. (www.maki23.com)