Antique Japanese Traditional (‘Takobozu’), Nakanosawa Kokeshi by Grand Master Iwamoto Yoshizou

Free US Shipping

All our items ship free in the US

Dimensions: 12-0”h

This is a traditional Nakanosawa Kokeshi of the Tsuchiyu-kei and one of the family's Grand Masters, Iwamoto, Yoshizou, who was one of the original craftsmen who helped establish this style along with Iwamoto, Zenkichi in the 1920s. This family of dolls was previously considered a substrain of the Tsuchiyu style.

The specific type of Kokeshi is often described as male rather than female by kokeshi enthusiasts even though was not specifically designed to be a male, and is referred to as "Tako bozu" (たこ坊主, bald boys), an octopus face with a shaven head reminiscent of the hairstyle worn by monks. The facial expression shows humor that is representative of Iwamoto Kenichi, a street dancer, (Sutorītodansā) in the 1920s who used a cushion that had a face with large eyes painted on it. His audience was soon so taken with his dance with the pillow that they asked for a doll to be made with these special features.  

This Kokeshi has a characteristically sizeable over-sized head with a small tuft of a wavy hair strand on the back and side harifriges which was typical of practitioners of the Zen Buddhist faith. The doll shows large expressive Bikkuri-me eyes, (surprised eyes) and the expressive Shishi-bata Lion’s nose with flared nostrils. This doll exhibits a faint reddish-to-pink blush around its eyes and an open mouth with a red tongue which were painted originally on the dancer's pillow. The doll incorporates Janome black rings painted on the top of its head with abstract peony petals on the side with bangs. Rokoru moyo red bands are incorporated below the neck and lower body on the thin and tapering body. The painted body incorporates two large open red and black peony flowers inspired by the tattoos that the Geisha sported.  The doll is signed by the artist on the bottom of the doll. 

Condition: Good vintage condition incorporating represented colors shown with age slight fading of the original colors which are commensurate with age on a natural wood base. This is a very RARE example of this family doll because of both the maker and his historical significance related to the establishment of this family of dolls and its history and uniqueness.

See additional writings on our website related to this subject: Under our Browse and Learn section, please refer to for full details on the history and development of this style doll.