Naruko Kokeshi Doll by Yasuo Okazaki

The origin of the Kokeshi doll is a mystery. It has been said that the Kokeshi doll started in the Tohoku district in the late Edo or early Meiji period, but there are various opinions about the birthplace. The wood crafters of the mountainside villages made it as a toy for children, and the dolls have unique designs and features rooted in each region.

The Naruko style of Kokeshi developed at Naruko hot springs. One of the unique characteristics of these Kokeshi is that their heads squeak when turned. They have kind faces and flared shoulders and skirts. The stripes at the top and bottom of the body are painted on the lathe, and the body is often painted with a chrysanthemum motif. The bangs are painted like the dolls sent as gifts from the Imperial Palace. Naruko Kokeshi wear a red headdress.

Yasuo Okazaki was born in 1954. After graduating from high school, he studied under his father and began creating Kokeshi with the guidance of his father’s senior pupil.

Produced by Te to Te to Te.

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