Monday, October 3, 2016


We always have kokeshi dolls in the shop and I've just started putting them online as well. These are wooden dolls from the north of  Japan that are now largely sold as souvenirs. Different areas have different styles - though the boundaries aren't always clear. There have been different theories about the origin of kokeshi but they only date back to the 19th century and it seems quite clear that they were originally just toys,  I did have one customer who told me she would never buy one because her Japanese daughter-in-law told her they were made in honour of babies that had died and it was the baby's name written on the bottom. This is definitely a myth; the name on the bottom  - or sometimes the side - is the maker's signature - there's a database of signatures where you can look them up (link below) .

These ones are all small - about 15cm - 18cm.

Wafu Works kokeshi online

Kokeshi signatures

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