Born in Miyagi Prefecture to a very prominent family of Traditional Narugo Kokeshi artists, Yusa-san had a hard time separating himself from the dolls his family produced. While he apprenticed under Master Takashashi Sakari of Narugo Spa, Miyagi, he began creating Sosaku dolls in the late 1950s. In breaking family tradition, he created award- winning dolls, including the Prime Minister’s Award in 1960, at the age of 30.
Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:
Yusa-san’s dolls are very plainly designed, and all employ ‘Chatter’ work defining the hair, and are typically decorated with the black, multi-colored sections or gold graphics. The smooth undulating surfaces add to the simple character of each doll, bringing focus to the central motif. He also portrays young children, many wearing one common article of clothing called a "Kakumaki", which is a winter shawl used throughout the Northern part of Japan, to keep out the chill. Most of his pieces illustrate expressive faces through the use of sumi-e’ painting, or illustrate clothing that is colorfully detailed. His award winning doll on the left include graphics that symboliz “Hoshu” the Treasure World. The dolls shown are versions of his 1960 award-winning doll in the National Kokeshi competition.