“Gakusei-fuku | School Uniform” “Gakusei-fuku | School Uniform”

Vintage Sosaku Kokeshi

“Gakusei-fuku | School Uniform”

Shibuya, Shinraku


Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 7-1/2” h

Descriptive Qualities: This Sosaku Kokeshi represents a young child, forewhich the drawing on the body of the doll representing a child’s uniform. As with most Kijiyama-style dolls, the hair is traditionally detailed with a hair bow on top. The wearing of certain colors, or the use of particular colors, indicate beliefs, as related to schools and institutions. At various times, the Shogunate issued dictates on which colors could be used by different social classes, institutions, and organizations on particular and everyday occasions. This was done in order to limit ostentatious display in everyday life, hence the development of the uniform. The piece is signed and stamped on the back.

Vintage Condition: “as is” with some scattered light wear or stain that does not affect the design, and retains the original craft/workmanship. Any discoloration, chipping/cracking, surface wear or structural damage noted. 

Artisan | Woodworker: Shibuya, Shinraku


Transitional artist Shibuya, Shinraku is from Yuzawa City, in Akita Prefecture. Virtually nothing is known about this artist, but it is clear that many of his dolls are in the Tranditional Kijiyama-style, which originated in Yuzawa, Minase, and Inagawa cities. Shibuya-san’s dolls range from the bright and beautifully painted, to the skillfully and minimally drawn designs. He is also a prolific artist of Daruma dolls. His work dates from 1960s onward.

Collector's note – descriptive qualities, standard characteristics & ornamentation styles:

At New Year’s, most Japanese individuals and corporations buy Daruma dolls and make a resolution for the New Year. The tradition began in the late 17th century as a relief measure for farmers who were suffering from famine.

There are many different styles of Daruma, as you will see by Shibuya’s creations, but there is one philosophy that all Daruma share, and that is the pursuit of beauty and artistry through simplicity. Noted is the fact that the images are placed on a large amount of background, which divides the surface and balances the design with space to appreciate the image. Often seen is the use of black and white paint to create the impression. Additionally, we see the celebration of seasonal successon with the use of Iris, Camellia flowers, and most of all, Bamboo. Artists working in the sumi-e’ style of painting achieve a suggestion of detail by using different intensities of ink and line work. Unpainted areas of the doll give form and volume. It is most interesting that Shibuya continues to use both traditional and creative elements to express his feelings about Japanese life and values.

Artist's Signature: