Antique Japanese Traditional, ‘Takobozu’, Nakanosawa Kokeshi by Seya, Shigeharu


Dimensions: 12-0”h 

This is the traditional Nakanosawa Kokeshi by the Tsuchiyu-kei family and by Seya, Shigeharu, (1924-) who created this doll between the 1950s-1960s. His master was Iawamoto, Yoshizou. This style of Kokeshi was created by Iwamoto Zenkichi of the Nakanosawa Onsen, and after his death, other prominent craftsmen kept the Nakanosawa doll’s tradition alive. 

The specific type of Kokeshi 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 large over-sized head with a small tuft of a wavy hair strand on the back which was typical of practitioners of the Zen Buddhist faith, and unique large expressive Bikkuri-me eyes, (surprised eyes) and 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 and green 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 tall thin and tapering body. The painted body incorporates 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: Excellent means the piece is perfect, totally original, and complete with no fading, cracks, or restoration, and retains its wonderful patina which suggests a degree of slight wear that corresponds to its vintage. This family of beguiling dolls has a special attraction to collectors because of their history and meets all the standards of the collectible Vintage Traditional Nakanosowa Family Kokeshi. 

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.